Melting Moments

Happy Birthday to me! Bakerholics Anonymous is 5 years old today 🙂 In celebration of the anniversary I am posting one of my favourite biscuit recipes: melting moments. This version has a tangy passionfruit buttercream which helps cut through the deliciously buttery biscuit – yum!

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Ingredients (makes 25)
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup icing sugar
1½ cups plain flour
½ cup cornflour
Passionfruit Buttercream
90g butter, softened
¾ cup icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pulp of 3 passionfruit

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Method
Line oven trays with baking paper.

Beat butter, extract and sifted icing sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gently stir in sifted flour in two batches.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place ~2.5cm apart on the trays. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake biscuits for 15 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. Stand 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Make butter cream by beating butter, icing sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stir through passionfruit pulp. If the icing is too runny, add more icing sugar.

Sandwich biscuits with butter cream. Dust with extra icing sugar and enjoy.

Note: if you do not have passionfruit, add more vanilla extract to make a vanilla buttercream or add 1 teaspoon each of lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind to make lemon buttercream.

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Recipe from Grandma, adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly

Parmesan and Fennel Seed Biscuits

These crumbly, flavoursome biscuits are perfect for entertaining. Try them on a cheese platter or serve by themselves with a good red wine. Delicious!

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Ingredients (makes ~35 medium stars)
120g parmesan cheese, roughly chopped
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
150g cold butter, chopped
2⅓ teaspoons fennel seeds, plus extra for decoration
1 tablespoon milk, plus extra for brushing

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Blitz the parmesan in a food processor until finely grated. Add flour and cornflour and process until combined. With the motor running, add the butter and blitz until fine crumbs form. Add fennel seeds and milk and blitz until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20 seconds. Cover dough in Gladwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C (~160°C fan-forced). Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Roll dough out with a rolling pin until approximately 5mm thick. Cut out medium stars (or other shape of your choosing) and place on prepared trays. Brush each biscuit with a small amount of milk and sprinkle with extra fennel seeds.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Donna Hay’s ‘Fennel and Parmesan Biscuits’.

Easy Homemade Dog Biscuits

I really felt like baking today, but after having had my wisdom teeth surgically removed last Tuesday, I am still not up to eating much myself. Instead, I decided to bake some homemade dog treats for Bailey who has been an incredibly sweet and loyal companion while I’ve been housebound post-op.

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Bailey LOVES peanut butter so I knew that had to be the main flavour, and I wanted the treats to be as natural as possible and preferably have breath freshening properties (as she loves a good snog!) I found a recipe on Pinterest which I adapted to suit my needs, and these quick, crunchy biscuits were the result. I made a few large bone biscuits (pictured) as well as some little hearts and they have certainly passed Bailey’s taste test.

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Ingredients (makes ~32 biscuits, dependent on size)
1 ½ cups instant oats (or rolled oats)
½ cup peanut butter (as natural as possible, definitely NOT containing xylitol or artificial sweeteners as these are toxic to dogs)
1 overripe banana
A small handful each of mint & parsley

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“Stop taking photos of them, hooman, and give me a taste”

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 trays with baking paper.

Blitz the oats in a food processor until fine. Add the peanut butter, banana and herbs and blitz until combined.

Scoop out onto a lightly floured surface and cut “dough” into desired shapes (I used a large bone and little heart shaped cutters). Carefully place on the prepared baking paper, leaving a small space between each biscuit. Prick the large bone shaped biscuits with a fork.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Watch your canine companion enjoy!

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Adapted from ‘3-Ingredient Puppy Treat Recipe’ on CraftyMorning.com

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

These gorgeous stained glass cookies are as fun to make as they are to eat! You can use any shaped cutters you like and could even join the cookies together to make a stained glass cookie wreath.

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Ingredients (makes approximately 50 cookies)
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 small egg
½ teaspoon water
1 ½ cups flour
¾ teaspoons baking powder

Hard/boiled lollies (I used Melbourne Rock Candy Bo Peep collection)
White chocolate, melted

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Method
Cream butter, sugar & vanilla using electric beaters until well combined. Add the egg and water and beat until light and fluffy.

Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, mix sifted dry ingredients into wet ingredients until a dough forms. Divide into 2 roughly equal pieces, cover with glad wrap (or plastic wrap) and refrigerate for an hour.

Line 3 large trays with baking paper.

Roll out dough using a rolling pin until it is approximately 1cm thick. Use assorted cutters to cut out shapes from the dough, and carefully place them on the lined trays (no need to leave room for spreading as they don’t). Then line up the smaller cutter of the shape in the centre of each, and cut out the centre dough.

Preheat oven to 190-200°C  (180°C fan-forced).

Divide the hard lollies into colours and blitz them, one colour at a time, in a blender until they are fine crystals. Using a teaspoon, carefully sprinkle the crystals into the empty centres of the cookies ensuring that the centre is fully covered. Brush away any crystals not in the centre as these will discolour the cookies.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes, before gently transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once they are cool, decorate by piping melted white chocolate onto the cookies.

Enjoy!

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Sugar cookie recipe adapted from ‘Alice & Lois.com’ – ‘The Best Valentine Sugar Cookies’
Design idea from Pinterest

Vanilla Bean Macarons

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I made these particular macarons to sit on top of my 21st birthday cake (and because I think no afternoon tea is complete without them!) Feel free to adapt the colours or flavours as you wish.

Ingredients (makes around 40 macarons, 20 paired)
Macaron shells
225g pure icing sugar
130g almond meal
115g egg whites
60g caster sugar
1g bicarb soda
A few drops of rose pink & violet food colouring

Vanilla bean filling
100g butter, softened
¼ cup milk
½  tblspn organic vanilla bean paste
4 cups icing sugar
Rose pink & violet food colouring

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C fan forced. Grease and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Separately sift icing sugar and almond meal into medium bowls or over sheets of baking paper. Repeat process 3 times and re-weigh ingredients (I know this seems excessive but trust me, it’s worth it). You will need to top up the ingredients as you may have lost some in the sifting process. Sift icing sugar and almond meal into a bowl and repeat, ensure there are no lumps.

Whisk egg whites until doubled in size using electric beaters or an electric stand mixer. While still whisking, gradually add caster sugar and bicarb, whisking until mixture forms very stiff peaks.

Gently fold almond meal mixture into meringue using a spatula until incorporated.

Divide mixture into 2 bowls. Add food colouring (pink to one, purple to the other) one drop at time, stirring very gently with a spatula, until desired colour reached.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 9mm round nozzle (approximately). Hold nozzle close to the baking tray and pipe 3cm diameter circles onto prepared trays – don’t make a circular motion àla soft serve. Tap the underside of the tray to allow macarons to settle and air bubbles to escape. If there is still a little peak on top, dip a teaspoon in water and use the back to smooth the surface. Repeat with other colour. 217929_10151403883896183_1104201680_n

Leave to rest for at least 20-30 minutes or until the macarons form a skin and the top is no longer shiny or sticky to the touch (this is VERY important as it will give your macaron its lovely ‘foot’).

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove trays from the oven and allow macarons to cool on the tray. They will still be soft at this stage but will firm up on cooling.

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To make the buttercream, cream the butter for 1-2 mins. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy).

Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet.

Halve the mixture and add a drop of rose food colouring to one half and a drop of violet colouring to the other.

Pipe a generous amount of buttercream onto half the macarons and sandwich with a second macaron.

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Recipe adapted from Callum Hann’s ginger macarons

Figolli (Maltese Easter Biscuits)

When we lived in Canberra, our lovely friends at Church would bring us some Figolli (traditional Maltese Easter biscuits) every Easter Sunday. As they were such a favourite with all of us, when we moved to Adelaide we decided that we couldn’t be without Figolli at Easter, and so we started making them ourselves.

This has just been our third Easter in Adelaide and I’m pretty confident that we’ve perfected them by now – consistently getting a rich buttery biscuit outside and perfectly chewy almond-citrus filling. We tend to to make ours round (although by all means use any shape you like) and decorate them simply with pastel icing and topped with an Easter egg. Do yourself a favour and try them!

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Ingredients
Pastry
400g plain flour, sifted
175g caster sugar
200g butter
2 egg yolks
Grated rind of ½ a lemon

Filling
300g icing sugar, icing
300g ground almonds
2 egg whites
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2-2½ teaspoons orange blossom water

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Method
In a food processor, blitz flour, sugar & butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add egg yolks, lemon zest & sufficient cold water to bring together. Knead gently to form a smooth ball and then cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20mins.

Meanwhile, add the lemon zest, orange blossom water, egg whites & sugar to the ground almonds. Mix until combined.

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced.

Roll pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 2 of each shape (we used round & oval shaped cutters of varying sizes).

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Spread almond paste on one half and lay matching shapes on top, pressing the edges together.

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Bake for approximately 20 mins or until golden brown.

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Allow to cool before decorating with glacé icing & mini easter eggs or speckled eggs.

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Adapted from ‘The Food and Cookery of Malta’ (1999)

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Bûche de Noël (Chocolate Yule Log)

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Today I’m sharing with you an incredibly easy yet delicious cheat’s version of the classic French Christmas dessert – Bûche de Noël.

For a traditional pudding-hater like myself, Christmas dessert has never brought much joy. Sure, you can smother your piece of pudding in custard (which I do) and that helps a bit, but somehow the fruity-boozy flavour that I hate so much still overpowers it. Anyway, fortunately I’m not the only pudding-hater in my family and so last year Mum made this Bûche de Noël (chocolate yule log) in addition to the pudding for dessert. This yule log is sweet (but not overly so) and very light – perfect for a hot summer’s day. It proved so popular last year that we’ll be making it again this year 🙂

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Ingredients (Serves up to 12)
1x 250g packet Arnott’s chocolate ripple biscuits (or equivalent)
600ml thickened cream
1 tspn caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
20g cocoa powder
Grated chocolate, to decorate
Spearmint leave lollies, to decorate
Raspberries, to decorate

Method
Using an electric mix, mix cream, sugar and vanilla together until stiff.

Fold in the cocoa until combined.

Spread a small amount of the cream along a long, rectangular serving plate to make a base. Spread 1 biscuit with 1 ½ teaspoons of cream and then top with another biscuit. Top with another 1 ½ teaspoons of cream and then place biscuits on their side onto the cream base on the serving platter.

Repeat until all biscuits have been used, to form a log.

Spread remaining cream over entire log, reserving a small amount for the branch.

Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to set.

Just before serving, cut cake diagonally about a quarter of the way in and use that piece as a branch off the main log.

Patch it up with the remaining cream so it looks attached.

Use a fork to make some lines along the branch to look natural and then sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Decorate with some raspberries and spearmint leaves and serve. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Arnott’s ‘Bake and Create’ Recipe booklet.

Simple Sugar Cookies

Happy 1st birthday Bakerholics Anonymous! To celebrate this milestone I thought I would share a recipe that I have only recently discovered but used frequently – with delicious results. These sugar cookies are perfect for any occasion as you can use any shaped cutters you like (my most recent batch were heart shaped for Valentine’s day but I have made a number of different varieties: stars and angels for Christmas, & even some Emperor’s New Groove themed ones!) The real beauty of these cookies is their versatility; they can be flavoured (via the cookie dough – think cocoa or cinnamon, or the icing), be very plain for fussy eaters by omitting the icing, and can be as thick or thin as you desire – just be sure to adjust oven times accordingly.

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Image                                   Emperor Kuzco Cookie from ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’

Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Icing
2 cups icing sugar
15g (1 tablespoon) or so of melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (or flavouring of choice)
Food colouring of your choice (I used Wilton Red food gel)Image
Method
Cream butter, sugar & vanilla using electric beaters until well combined.

Add the egg and water and beat until light and fluffy.

Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, mix sifted dry ingredients into wet ingredients until a dough forms. Divide into 2 roughly equal pieces, cover with glad wrap (or plastic wrap) and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 190°C. Roll out dough using a rolling pin until you reach your desired thickness (anywhere between 5mm & 1cm is good) and cut out shapes using cookie cutters (or freehand with a knife if you’re skilful!)

Place onto a baking tray (they don’t have to be spread out much as they don’t really expand) and bake for 5-8minutes.

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Once cool, ice with icing and decorate as desired.

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Adapted from ‘Alice & Lois.com’ – ‘The Best Valentine Sugar Cookies’

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

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Wow! These cookies are to die for. Based on a Curtis Stone recipe I found in LA last year (but waited until SwotVac to try for procrastibaking purposes), these cookies are so ridiculously chewy and chocolatey and perfect that even the sun wanted in (photographic evidence above and below). Warning: highly addictive.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
½ tspn baking soda
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
125g butter, softened
1 ½ tblspns honey
1 large egg
1 tspn vanilla extract
155g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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Method
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and line 3 large baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the baking soda and flour into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, honey, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.

Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut mixture in 2 additions.

Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Scoop a heaped teaspoon (so that it is about the size of a ping pong ball) of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheet (spacing so there is room for spreading).

Bake for about 7 minutes, or until the cookies are starting to turn golden but are still soft to the touch.

Cool the cookies on the tray for 5-10 mins (this is where they will harden slightly) and then transfer to a cooling rack or eat warm.

Makes around 36 cookies, provided you don’t eat too much dough (not that I would ever do that or anything).

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Recipe from Curtis Stone

Anzac Biscuits

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They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them.

Anzac biscuits are said to have been created by Australian (and New Zealand) women on the home-front during WWI as they were cheap to produce, would last the long voyage to the troops (as they didn’t contain eggs or other ingredients that would go off), and deliver both on a taste and nutritional basis. Since then, these biscuits have become a symbol of the ANZACs eaten in their millions on ANZAC day (25th April) in Australia and across the Tasman. This version is my favourite with a crunchy top and chewy inside, adapted from an old family recipe for ‘brown biscuits’ as they were called at the time.

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Ingredients (makes 30+ biscuits)
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tblspns golden syrup
2 ½ tblspns water
½  tsp bicarb soda

Method
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add sugar, oats and coconut and mix well.

Melt the butter in a saucepan with golden syrup and water. Add the bicarb of soda to the liquid mixture and add to the dry mix.

Stir until thoroughly combined.

Place walnut sized balls of mixture onto a greased tray. Press down gently with the back of a teaspoon.

Bake at 150°C for 8-12 mins or until deep golden brown.

Note: Biscuits will harden when cool so don’t worry if they seem undercooked.

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Adapted from a combination of an old family recipe and BestRecipes.com.au