Posts Tagged With: cookies

Cookies & Cream Cake

I’m back! Last month I finally moved into the lovely maisonette in Milton Keynes that I put an offer on back in February which has been extremely exciting, but also means I’ve been a) super busy with house things and b) without broadband for an achingly long period! Anyway, I’m all set up and able to access the World Wide Web once again, so I thought it was about time I posted this recipe. So, without further ado, here we go…

A large number of my friends and family have birthdays in the summer, and the 22nd June saw my dear step-grandad, John, turn the grand old age of 90! I’ve made him a cake the last few years and wanted this one to be particularly special due to it being a milestone occasion.

I got the idea for this cake from the wonderful Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, Home Sweet Home, but adapted it in a few ways, most notably using Dream Topping in place of the buttercream.

I fancied trying something different and I have to admit I have a bit of a weakness for this particular type of faux cream myself, despite the dodgy 1970s dinner party connotations it seems to be lumbered with! It works perfectly in this cake and the overall taste reminded me of that oh-so-American activity of dipping cookies in milk.

I would definitely make this wondrous beast again. It’s ridiculously easy to create but the result is a feast for the eyes and, hence, ideal for a celebration, as well as being appealing to all age groups. I mean, whether you’re nine or ninety, who could resist a homemade triple-layer choc chip cake adorned with a mountain of cookie bits?!

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INGREDIENTS – makes 3 shallow sponge layers of approx. 20cm/8 in diameter

For the cake:

  • 280g/10 oz self-raising flour
  • 280g/10 oz butter
  • 255g/9 oz caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g/2 oz milk or dark chocolate chips

For the filling/topping:

  • 1 x packet Dream Topping, prepared according to pack instructions with x ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet shop-bought chocolate chip cookies (from the biscuit aisle of the supermarket; not the chewy bakery ones), e.g. Maryland

METHOD

For the cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line three round baking tins with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the butter/margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale, then whisk in the eggs.
  • Fold in the flour and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins, then scatter the chocolate chips over the top.

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  • Pop the tins into the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  • When baked, transfer the cakes onto a wire rack and remove from the tins when cool. At this stage, the sponges can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling/topping:

This part should be done just before serving the cake, otherwise the cookies will go soft.

  1. Mix up the Dream Topping according to the packet’s instructions, and stir in the vanilla extract. Divide equally into two bowls.
  2. Bash the cookies up in a zip-lock bag using a rolling pin. Do this quite roughly – you want chunks rather than crumbs.
  3. Stir half of the crushed cookies into one bowl of the Dream Topping and then spread half of the mixture onto one of the cooled sponge layers. Sandwich another layer on top and repeat.
  4. Place the final sponge layer on top of the other two and spread with the other bowl of smooth Dream Topping. Scatter the remaining crushed cookies on top of the cake and serve.

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Categories: Icing, Layer Cakes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Year in Cake – 2016

As I’m currently tucked up in bed with a rotten cold on New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do another blog post like I did this time last year looking at my top bakes of 2016.

I won’t bore you with the details but this year has been the worst one for a long time for many reasons and has left me a bit emotionally battered to say the least. I’m hoping with all my strength that 2017 is an improvement and that the changes I’m desperate to make in my life will come about.

Still, baking is a part of my life come rain or shine and I’ve managed quite a few successful bakes this year, including several celebration cakes which I was really pleased with. My creations will never be up there in the showstopper stakes, but I think my presentation skills have improved and I’ve been a bit more daring with decoration.

One new thing I’ve tried this year is meringues. I’d always been a bit nervous to try them as I got the impression they’d be very temperamental and difficult to pull off, but happily I was wrong. My piping skills are still as dire as ever, but they were surprisingly easy to make and tasted absolutely delicious – crispy on the outside with a gooey marshmallow-like interior. And so SO much better than the brittle, chalky shop-bought ones. I was hoping to make a chocolate or cappuccino pavlova for NYE dessert and unfortunately being ill has put paid to that, but I’m keen to make something meringuey again soon! Like an idiot I forgot to include the fruits of my labour in the collage below so here’s a snap of my cute little ghost meringues from Halloween:

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I’ve decided to make on culinary resolution this year, and I’m sure I’ve made it before. I would really like to have a go at making proper bread, i.e. using yeast (not soda bread!) I’m a very impatient cook which is what’s put me off trying this previously but the effort would be worth it in order to create a nice big tear-and-share centrepiece, either a delicious chocolatey monkey bread or a mouth-watering sundried tomato and cheese number. I also fancy having a go at brioche, which is my all-time favourite bread, with its indulgent melt-in-the-mouth buttery sweetness and cloud-like texture. Watch this space!

So anyway, here’s a wee compilation of my personal favourite bakes from 2016:

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  1. Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cake (recipe here)
  2. Spiced Tea & Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Ganache Icing (recipe here)
  3. Banana, Peanut Butter & Caramac Loaf (recipe here)
  4. Honeycomb & Chocolate Flapjacks with Marzipan Bees (recipe here)
  5. Raisin Spice Christmas Cake with Fondant Sealies (base recipe from the 1000 Cakes & Bakes cookbook)
  6. Moomin Lebkuchen (base recipe from the Bake Off Christmas cookbook)
  7. Lady Baltimore Cake (recipe here)
  8. Ducky Custard Cream Cake (base recipe here)
  9. Cheese & Sundried Tomato Quiche (recipe here)

I’ll sign off now by wishing everyone in the Bakeosphere a very happy and healthy 2017! 🙂

Cloud9.1 x

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Custard Cream Flapjacks

I’m officially obsessed with flapjacks. Up until a couple of months ago, I don’t think I’d ever actually made them, but after creating Caramac and honeycomb & chocolate ones, I now find myself whipping up a batch or two at least every couple of weeks!

I just love how they’re both so foolproof and so adaptable. Simply mix together butter, sugar, syrup and oats et voila – you’ve got the base for a million varieties and you can add pretty much whatever goodies you feel like. And all without the ever-present fears of over-mixing, soggy bottoms or sunken sponges.

Aside from the aforementioned types, other flapjacks I’ve attempted include Malteser, Fudge bar, cherry bakewell, white chocolate & cranberry, date & raisin, Dime bar, salted caramel, Milky Way…and many more to come I suspect.

As I love anything custard cream related, I decided that these yummy biccies would form the basis for my next flapjack experiment. The results were deliciously vanilla-y, moreish, and heartily demolished by my colleagues!

Oh, and if you’re also a custard cream fan, why not try my custard cream cake?

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INGREDIENTS – makes 12 large flapjacks or 15 small flapjacks

  • 130g/4.5 oz butter or margarine
  • 170g/6 oz granulated or caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 tbsp custard powder
  • 255g/9 oz oats
  • 100g/3.5 oz white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 custard cream biscuits, roughly crushed

    METHOD
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter/margarine, sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract together – either in a saucepan on the hob or in a large mixing bowl in the microwave – until smooth.
  3. Stir in the oats, white chocolate and custard powder until evenly coated.
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  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until the edges are slightly brown (the mixture will will firm up as it cools).
  5. Leave to cool on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes and scatter the crushed custard creams over the top while still warm, gently pushing larger bits into the flapjacks.
  6. When completely cool, slice in squares using a sharp knife.
Categories: flapjacks, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Othello Biscuits

Sadly, my grandad’s recently been moved into a care home and my parents are in the process of clearing out his house. Among the vast array of things unearthed, they found two big cardboard boxes full of recipe clippings from ancient magazines belonging to my late gran, who passed away in 2008.

Looking through these little relics of cooking times past has been an interesting and touching experience. It might sound silly but rifling through them made me feel closer to her and remembering the way she hoarded anything and everything to stop it from going to waste made me smile. Although hanging on to gargantuan stacks of old envelopes and keeping used individual butter wrappers to use to grease cake tins is a little extreme, I admire the way that she and her frugal generation in general were so much more scrupulous about waste than we are nowadays. As a recycling enthusiast who hates to throw things away unnecessarily, it’s quite inspiring.

Anyway, to get on track to the main point of this post: among Granny Emily’s varied collection of magazine snippets was a recipe from the 1970s for so-called ‘Othello’ biscuits which caught my eye. They’re mostly just oats, butter, sugar and cocoa powder but I love oaty things and thought they sounded tasty so I was keen to give them a go.

The unusual name added to their allure until I then twigged that it is of course a racist nod to the titular character of the Shakespeare play of the same name due to their dark colour – this certainly wouldn’t be an acceptable name for cookies nowadays but things were a lot less politically correct back then! Anyhow, despite their dodgy nomenclature, I’m pleased to say that they’re scrumptious…and quite addictive.

However, considering we are not even halfway through January, I don’t want to ignore the talk in my previous post about trying out healthier recipes. While eating one of these biscuits hardly carries the same calorific consequences as a giant doorstop of cake, I still wanted to have a go at removing, or at least cutting down, the amount of fat and refined sugar used. Therefore, I tweaked the original recipe and came up with a lighter version that contains no refined sugar and only a small amount of fat. Admittedly, they are very slightly drier than their full fat counterparts but the cheeky drizzle of chocolate on the top compensates for this and gives them a delicious edge without adding too much in the way of naughtiness. I also threw in a bit of spice which I think really complements the flavour. They make an ideal snack as they’re quite filling; even I stopped after nomming just one and that’s usually unheard of for me!

This version can easily be made vegan and/or dairy free with a few simple substitutions, which I’ve suggested below.

20160110_162610Original batch pictured on the left and healthier version on the right 🙂

ORIGINAL OTHELLO BISCUITS (this is the original 1970s recipe but I’m unable to give credit as I don’t know which magazine it’s from, sorry!)

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10 biscuits

  • 4 oz porridge oats
  • 2 oz margarine
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 0.5 oz cocoa powder
  • 0.5 oz plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 dessertspoon cold water

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a bowl, stir in the oats.
  2. Add the margarine and, using the fingertips only, rub it in until the fat is evenly distributed.
  3. Stir in the sugar then add the water and knead the ingredients to a firm dough.
  4. Here, the original recipe tells you to roll out the dough with a rolling pin and stamp out circles but to be honest it’s far too sticky to do this so I’d suggest pulling off ping pong sized balls of it and flattening them with wet palms before placing them on a rectangular baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake the biscuits on the centre shelf of a fairly cool oven, gas mark 3 or 325 degrees F (160 degrees C), for about 15 minutes until they are firm to touch.
  6. Transfer them to a wire tray to cool and become crisp.

LOW FAT & REFINED SUGAR FREE OTHELLO BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 20 biscuits

  • 225g/8 oz porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp almond (or peanut) butter
  • 2 tbsp olive spread (or soya spread to make them vegan/dairy free), softened
  • 5 tbsp honey (or maple/agave syrup to make them vegan)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 0.5 tsp ginger
  • 30g/1 oz cocoa powder
  • 30g/1 oz plain flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 100g/3.5 oz dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa content, the better), chopped

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C (or 150 fan) and line a large rectangular baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the ingredients apart from the chocolate into a large mixing bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon and then your fingers until a sticky dough forms. If it’s too dry, add a little more water and if it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour.
  3. Pull off ping pong sized balls of dough and flatten them with wet hands, then place onto the baking tray.
  4. Pop in the oven and bake for around 10-15 minutes or until they feel slightly firm to the touch (they’ll crisp up as they cool) and then leave too cool on a wire rack.
  5. When the biscuits have cooled, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on a medium heat in blasts of 1 minute until completely melted, then drizzle over the biscuits using a teaspoon.
  6. Allow to set before scoffing, preferably with a cuppa.
Categories: Biscuits/Cookies, Chocolate, Healthier, Raw/Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stollen Biscotti

I know I’m cutting it a bit fine posting my one brand new edible festive creation late on Christmas Eve Eve but these biscotti are so fabulous that I think they warrant a fashionably late arrival. I have been doing a fair amount of yuletide baking recently but everything bar these have used recipes from books/magazines (which is unusual for me), hence why I haven’t posted them on here.

I was originally going to make the divine-sounding stollen muffins from the November issue of Good Food, but the only problem with muffins is that they’re quite heavy and I wanted to bake something lighter to enjoy with a cuppa after the hefty indulgence that is Christmas lunch, hence the idea for a biscotti version came to me. I used to hate marzipan as a child and have distinct memories of painstakingly picking it off every slice of wedding or Christmas cake while carefully salvaging the sweet, sticky white icing. However, I’ve started to love it in my old age, and I now can’t imagine a December without stollen.

This biscotti recipe and technique are very similar to the wonderfully versatile ones I blogged about here: https://cloud9point1.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/fabulous-biscotti/. Despite this, I feel that their rich, festive flavour and all-round fruity, almondy deliciousness means they deserve a separate post. Again, feel free to experiment with ingredients and flavours – you could try adding pistachios, candied peel and/or chopped dates, among other things, to create a similarly Christmassy taste if you’re not a fan of marzipan.

I’ll sign off now by wishing a very MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone reading this, and a huge thank you for supporting my little blog 🙂 Here’s to more culinary fun in 2016!

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15 pieces

  • 180g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 80g/3 oz caster or granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 40g/1.5 oz dried cranberries
  • 40g/1.5 oz sultanas
  • 40g/1.5 oz marzipan, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a large flat baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, ground almonds and baking powder together in a large bowl then add the cranberries, sultanas, marzipan cubes and almond extract.
  3. Beat the egg and milk together for around 1 minute and pour into the mixture.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon and then your hands until the ingredients come together to form a stiff dough. If it’s too sticky add a little more flour and if it’s too dry and crumbly add a splash more milk.
  5. Roll the dough into a sausage shape about 25-30cm long and place on the baking tray then gently flatten it until it’s about 2cm tall.

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  6. Place in the oven for around 25-30 minutes until the dough is firm with a crust but still fairly pale.
  7. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 140 degrees C then allow the dough to cool for around 10 minutes before sawing into pieces about 2cm thick using a serrated knife.
  8. Place the biscuits back on the baking tray and cook for a further 25 minutes or until lightly browned then leave to cool before enjoying with tea, coffee or a festive tipple!
Categories: Biscuits/Cookies, Festive, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Matcha Green Tea & Dark Chocolate Shortbread

I hadn’t done any baking in weeks due to moving from my flat in London back to my hometown in Buckinghamshire and spending every waking moment finishing off my MA dissertation, but I’m happy to say it’s fiiiiinally done and dusted now, all 10,000 words of it 🙂 The people on my degree programme (English Linguistics if you’re interested) and our lecturers are getting together on deadline day for a wee goodbye tea party so I whipped up a batch of scones to take along, and also wanted to make something as a thank you to my friend Andy. He very kindly brought me back some traditional cakes when he went to Taiwan as he knows I love baking, cooked an amazing authentic Chinese meal for my friend Lara and me, and gave me some proper green tea leaves from his homeland of China – what a sweetie! I thought I’d make something that was partly traditionally British but also had a Chinese twist, hence this experimental shortbread made with matcha green tea powder (the same I used in my cupcake recipe here: https://cloud9point1.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/green-tea-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-icing/). I was worried that the biscuits would taste too bitter or be over/undercooked but I’m happy to say that the results were lovely. They were very buttery and melt-in-the-mouth but with a slightly fragrant twang, and the dark chocolate pieces gave them just the right amount of sweetness.

Just a word of warning – the dough in this recipe will be very sticky so I’d advise not to skip the step that says leave it to chill in the fridge for half an hour, as this helps make it more workable, and make sure you use plenty of flour when rolling it out. If you find stamping out the shapes with cookie cutters too frustrating, just form the dough into a log and cut off rounds with a sharp knife instead.

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12 biscuits depending on size of cookie cutter

  • 110g/4 oz plain flour
  • 110g/4 oz butter
  • 70g/2.5 oz granulated sugar
  • 30g/1 oz ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 50g/2 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces

METHOD

  1. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until pale.
  2. Add the flour, ground almonds, matcha powder and chocolate pieces to the mix and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms (it will be very sticky).
  3. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Around 10 minutes before you remove the dough, pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C (or 150 gas).
  4. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick.
  5. Cut out biscuits using the cookie cutter of your choice, sprinkling on more flour as you go to avoid sticking, then squish the offcuts together, roll out again and repeat until all the dough is used.
  6. Carefully transfer the biscuits using a fish slice or large palette knife onto a large baking tray lined with parchment paper then pop in the oven and bake for around 10-13 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly browned – they will still be quite soft but will harden after you remove them from the oven.
  7. Place the biscuits on a wire rack and leave to cool.
Categories: Biscuits/Cookies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fabulous Biscotti

Originally posted 03/03/2015

I first made these lovely crisp biccies, which go perfectly with a cuppa, with raisins and dark chocolate chips using a brilliant recipe from the Hairy Dieters as inspiration when on the hunt for lower fat/calorie bakes that still delivered a sweet hit. They turned out fantastically and have since become a bit of a signature bake of mine. I love how easy and versatile this recipe is – once you’ve got the basic biscotti dough you can add pretty much anything you want for flavour: chocolate, spices, citrus zest, dried fruit, nuts…the list is endless!

The original version made with orange zest, dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries weighed in at only 53 calories a piece so, although I can’t give an exact estimate when other ingredients are added, the chances are they’re still reasonably sin-free provided you don’t go too mad with the sugary extras!

I know traditionally biscotti is made with almonds but I always use almond extract as I love the delicate flavour it gives. By all means use flaked almonds if you prefer though.

I made these cherry and white chocolate ones for Valentine’s Day 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 20 pieces

  • 180g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 80g/3 oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white*
  • 40g/1.5 oz white chocolate chips (or other chocolate/ingredient of choice)
  • 40g/1.5 oz glace cherries, chopped into chocolate chip sized pieces (or other dried fruit/ingredient of choice)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half a tsp baking powder

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a large flat baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the chocolate chips, cherry pieces and almond extract.
  3. Beat the egg and egg white together along with the vanilla extract for around 1 minute and pour into the mixture.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon and then your hands until the ingredients come together to form a stiff dough. If it’s too sticky add a little more flour and if it’s too dry and crumbly add a splash of milk.
  5. Roll the dough into a sausage shape about 25-30cm long and place on the baking tray then gently flatten it until it’s about 2cm tall.
  6. Place in the oven for around 25-30 minutes until the dough is firm with a crust but still fairly pale.
  7. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 140 degrees C then allow the dough to cool for around 10 minutes before sawing into pieces about 2cm thick using a serrated knife.
  8. Place the biscuits back on the baking tray and cook for a further 25 minutes or until lightly browned then leave to cool before enjoying with tea or coffee.

*Please don’t throw the spare yolk away if at all possible! It can be used in homemade burgers, Welsh rarebit or eggy bread, among other things (sorry, I just really hate waste!)

Edit: I made these decadent double chocolate biscotti for my friend’s birthday by following the above recipe but omitting the almond extract, replacing two heaped tablespoons of flour with cocoa powder and substituting dark chocolate chips in place of the cherries:

Categories: Biscuits/Cookies, Healthier | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sealy Oreos

Originally posted 22/02/2015

No actual baking required but I just wanted to make a quick post about these cute cookies I made as a surprise for my Oreo-loving other half as part of Valentine’s Day dinner. They were inspired by The More Than Occasional Baker’s adorable penguin Oreos which can be found here: http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/penguin-oreos-for-valentine.html?m=1

Anyone that knows me knows I have a bit of a seal obsession, hence the adaptation – I just think they’re so so cute! Separating the cookies without breaking them and keeping the cream intact is easier said than done and putting the little whiskers on is a bit fiddly but they’re fun to make and sure to raise a smile 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes 8

  • 8 Oreo cookies
  • 16 dark chocolate chips
  • 8 butterscotch chips
  • Handful of chocolate vermicelli

METHOD

  1. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove one side of each Oreo and put the non-cream halves to one side.
  2. Use the knife to gently scrape any excess crumbs off the cream.
  3. Place pairs of chocolate chips at the top of each cookie as eyes then add the butterscotch chip noses and use tweezers to arrange four vermicelli whiskers on each.
Categories: No-Bake | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Chocolate Biscuits

Originally posted 09/12/2013

My original attempt at hot chocolate biscuits were a sub-par batch of dry, cakey chocolate cookies from a recipe I found online so I went back to the drawing board and invented my own version which keeps the hot chocolate powder, generous chocolate chunks and gooey marshmallow but uses icing sugar in place of caster sugar and plain flour instead of self-raising. This creates a more even and less puffed-up biscuit without making them hard and brittle.

The combination of chunky milk chocolate pieces and chewy marshmallow inside a rich, dark cocoa biscuit makes for a delicious taste and texture. For further hot chocolatey decadence, sandwich two biscuits together with Marshmallow Fluff – scrumptious!

Note: the large chocolate chunks in these cookies means the dough will be fairly thick and slightly uneven when rolled out and the final result will be a little bumpy with oozy marshmallow patches, so I’d advise using a simple cutter rather than an intricately shaped one for this recipe.


INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 20 biscuits depending on size of cutter

  • 225g/8 oz plain flour
  • 30g/1 oz cocoa
  • 30g/1 oz hot chocolate powder
  • 1 tsp Horlicks (or other malt drink powder)
  • 30g/1 oz icing sugar
  • 170g/6 oz margarine/butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g/4 oz milk chocolate chips or cut-up chunks
  • Handful of marshmallows snipped into small bits
  • 0.5 tbsp instant ground coffee dissolved in approx. 0.5 tbsp boiling water

METHOD

  1. Boil the kettle and pour about half a tbsp water over half a tbsp instant ground coffee and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two large flat baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the margarine/butter and icing sugar together until combined.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa, hot chocolate powder, Horlicks, chocolate chunks and bits of marshmallow and mix briefly.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and prepared coffee then use your hands to squash the mixture together to form a ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour.
  6. Wrap the dough in clingfilm or a freezer bag and chill in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Place the ball of dough onto a large clean sheet of baking parchment then place another sheet on top and roll out with a rolling pin until about 1.5cm thick, depending on the size of the chocolate pieces (alternatively, you could roll the dough out on a floured surface but this may spoil the colour of the biscuits a bit).
  8. Cut out as many biscuits as possible using your cutter of choice (I used a flower shape) and place onto a the baking trays then squish the offcuts of dough together, re-roll and repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms of the biscuits start to colour slightly then transfer onto a wire rack. This is the part where I’d normally say leave to cool but don’t leave them too long as they’re delicious while still warm from the oven – just beware of molten marshmallow!
Categories: Biscuits/Cookies, Chocolate | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Velvet Star Biscuits

Originally posted 08/12/2013

I haven’t updated my little blog in a while due to being busy but now we’ve officially entered the most wonderful time of the year for cooking I’ve been squeezing in lots of festive baking.

These decadent biccies have got to be one of my favourite cookie recipes and more than make up for my first (and so far only) attempt at red velvet cake being a disaster. They contain quite a large amount of red gel colouring and icing sugar, plus buttermilk and egg, so they’re not the cheapest cookies to make but they look and taste fantastic and are a perfect luxurious treat for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion, or as a gift. I wish I’d taken photo which showed their beautiful dark red colour better as it makes the cookies look very distinctive even without decoration, although I added Dr Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray for an extra festive sparkly sheen. These would also be delicious sandwiched together with some cream cheese frosting for an even more authentic red velvet experience!

If, like me, you don’t want to buy buttermilk (it’s not very widely available here in the UK), I found a great tip online showing you how to make your own by simply adding a dash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice to milk and leaving it to curdle for a few minutes. Et voila – bona fide red velvety goodness in biscuit form!

This recipe is an adapted version of an American one I found here: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2012/02/red-velvet-roll-outs-recipe/

You can’t see from this photo but they’re the most wonderful deep red colour inside!

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 40 biscuits depending on size of cutter

  • 115g/4 oz butter/margarine
  • 170g/6 oz icing sugar
  • 255g/9 oz plain flour
  • Half a beaten egg
  • 55g/2 oz cocoa
  • 3 tsp buttermilk (or 3 tsp milk + 1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp red gel food colouring (NOT the liquid kind as this won’t work!)
  • Dr Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray, to finish (optional)

METHOD

  1. If making buttermilk as outlined above, pour the white wine vinegar or lemon juice into the milk and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two large flat baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the butter/margarine and icing sugar until combined.
  4. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk, then add the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix briefly.
  5. Add the gel food colouring a teaspoon at a time and mix until the mixture turns a deep blood-like red shade (it will be dazzlingly vivid!) then squash together with your hands to form a ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour.
  6. Wrap the dough in clingfilm or a freezer bag and chill in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes until fairly firm.
  7. Place the ball of dough on a large clean sheet of baking parchment then place another sheet over the top and roll out with a rolling pin until about 1cm thick.*
  8. Cut out as many biscuits as possible with your cookie cutter of choice (I used a star shape) and place onto the baking trays (they don’t spread out much when cooking so they can be placed fairly close together). Squish the offcuts of dough together and re-roll and repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes or until the bottoms of the biscuits start to colour slightly then transfer onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  10. If you want a gold sheen effect as in the photo, hold the Shimmer Spray can about 10cm away from the biscuits and spray each one, then leave to dry.

*You could just sprinkle flour onto the surface to prevent the rolling pin sticking but this ruins the bold colour of the dough when baking.

Categories: Biscuits/Cookies, Festive | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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