baking – biscuits / cookies

Chocolate date biscuits *

Chocolate date biscuits

Everyone, stop everything.

Whatever you’re doing – stop.

Because I may have baked the most delicious chocolate biscuits in the world.

And you need to stop everything so you too can experience the wonder and delight of these biscuits.

Okay, I am prone to exaggeration – they may not the the most delicious ever in the entire universe, but they are pretty damn amazing.

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Beetroot brownies

Beetroot brownies

I had bought beetroot with the intention of shredding them and eating them raw in a salad. And then… they sat in the pantry for a while. After a certain amount of time had passed (and I’m too ashamed to tell you exactly how long) the thought of eating them raw was, well, not good.

What to do, what to do.

And then I had a brilliant thought – brownies! Because that’s a logical next step isn’t it? Salad ——> brownies.

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Alfajores

Alfajores

After making these alfajores on two different occasions, I declare them a winter baking project.

Both occasions were during extremely hot nights and it was an exercise in frustration. The dough for these biscuits is super soft, and there was heavy resistance to being rolled out or shaped because it wanted to be melty mcmelt all over the bench.

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Ice cream sandwiches

Note: this is a scheduled post while I’m away. Replies to comments/emails will be even slower than usual. :)

This is my life nowadays. I get up early to bake cookies. Ten years ago, I would’ve been awake at the same time because I hadn’t gone to sleep yet after a night out.

Ahh, youth. As they say, it’s wasted on the young.

I’m not sure which part of my life I will remember more fondly, but in this part I have cookies and ice cream sandwiches and a tiny bit more wisdom. The invincible feeling of youth or cookies… tough choice!

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Oat and cherry biscuits


Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 9,
Theme: Crunchy
Recipe: Oat and cherry biscuits aka Big Fat Thin Anzac Biscuits
Adapted from: Bourke Street Bakery

The Easter holiday this year has been fantastic! For any non-Australians, the Easter weekend coincided with Anzac Day, which meant a five day weekend for most people (or a 10 day weekend for me, because I took this week off!).

Maria and Daz invited us to a picnic for the Anzac Day public holiday, and I took the opportunity to make my Cookbook Challenge post for “crunchy”, taking along a variation of the Anzac biscuit. We ate food, drank wine and beer, had desserts, and then we played a cut-throat game of Kubb. There was a lot of screaming and insult hurling involved. So if you were in the vicinity of Queen’s Park on the Anzac Day holiday, no doubt you would have heard us. Major apologies!

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Rainbow cookies

Youtube released the list of their most viewed videos for 2010 recently.

Alastair hadn’t seen the double rainbow one yet so we watched it together. And look, if you haven’t seen it – just watch it. It’s hilarious in an awful, cringey, embarrassing, uncomfortable way.

My favourite line: What does this mean??? (It means that sun is shining on drops of water. Ahem.)

While I laughed at it, I do appreciate the sentiment behind it, because rainbows are fantastic. Kermit asked: why are there so many songs about rainbows? It’s because they’re fucking amazing, Kermit!

International Incident Colour Party

This is supposed to segue neatly into the theme of the last International Incident Party for the year, but unfortunately I seem to have made a hash of it. The theme is colours, and I took that theme and ran with it… to… rainbows. I made cookies! Rainbow cookies! (Us Australians normally call cookies biscuits, but there is NO WAY a cookie that looks like a rainbow should be called a biscuit).

Oh look, I got there in the end.
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Jam Drops

Cookbook Challenge: Week 50
Theme: Picnic
Recipe: Jam Drops
From: AWW Bake

Disclosure: I was sent samples of Bonne Maman jam from 360° Focus.

Oh dear, oh my. I’ve been a bad Cookbook Challenger again. This is the second week in a row that I haven’t prepared anything!

I fully intended to make something today, but we went out to lunch, and it turned out to be the biggest lunch the world has ever seen. No exaggeration. After we rolled out of the restaurant and rolled home, there was no way I could even consider cooking. Cooking = food, and I had eaten far too much to even think about it.

Fortunately, I’m going to do my TV Chef trick again:

Oh, here’s one I prepared earlier! 😀

Jam drops

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Spicy chocolate cookies

Spicy chocolate cookies

Cookbook Challenge: Week 24
Theme: Chocolate
Recipe: Spicy chocolate cookies
From: The Golden Book of Chocolate

Second recipe: Mexican chicken mole
From: The Golden Book of Chocolate

We’re on week 24 of the Cookbook Challenge and the theme this week is chocolate. I decided to crack open a book that Bro gave me a while ago – the Golden Book of Chocolate – and make two recipes. One sweet, and one savoury. Oh yes, savoury!

Let’s start with the sweet. I LOVE chilli and chocolate together, so I decided to make spicy chocolate cookies (biscuits? let’s stick with cookies). As I was baking these cookies, I realised why I don’t make cookies often. Because I don’t find it rewarding! The batch of cookies used 250g of chocolate as one of the ingredients and I only made 19 cookies! C’mon! For that amount of chocolate I could have had a massive chocolate cake, such as the best chocolate cake ever.

Spicy chocolate cookies

That aside, what did I think of the cookies? I made a couple of changes to the recipe – rather than using coffee liqueur I opted for strong espresso, and instead of chocolate chips I dug out some cocoa nibs that I had in the pantry. I’m glad I didn’t use chocolate chips because OH MY GOD these things were sweet! Mostly, I blame the inclusion of raisins – why oh why oh why with the raisins? If I felt like making these again I would definitely leave out the raisins. I would also up the amount of chilli flakes, they were only very faintly spicy and could have used a bit more punchiness.

Or perhaps I might just bake a cake next time. :)

Chicken mole

On to the savoury – the second recipe was a Mexican (inspired) chicken mole. Having never eaten a proper mole before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What can I say about this? It was weird and I’m sure that it was the recipe’s/my fault as I have no doubt that a proper and authentic mole would be rather delicious. My main issue with my mole was due to an oily aftertaste I thought I could detect. The recipe asked for a cup of breadcrumbs, and I’m sure that the aftertaste was due to the breadcrumbs. I should’ve used better quality breadcrumbs! Oh well. As for the inclusion of chocolate, the dish didn’t taste like chocolate – it just seemed to add an interesting dimension to the sauce. I would really like to try a proper mole one day.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s have a look at the cookies again, shall we?

Spicy chocolate cookies

Ahh. That’s better.

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Update: see the round up at My Food Trail.

Spicy chocolate cookies

Spicy chocolate cookies

Adapted from The Golden Book of Chocolate

Makes about 18 cookies

2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you’re feeling brave – do it!)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (60g) raisins (highly recommend that you leave this out!)
2 tablespoons strong coffee
250g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (60g) butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90g) cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Heat the raisins and coffee in a small saucepan (or in the microwave).

Place the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until very pale and creamy (about 5 minutes).

Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract to the eggs, and mix at medium speed.

Add the flour, baking powder, red pepper flakes and salt to the mixer and beat on low speed. Add the raisin mixture and cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and mix until combined. It will be a very wet, thick batter/dough.

Drop tablespoons of the dough a couple of centimetres apart on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until risen slightly.

Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chicken mole


Mexican inspired chicken mole

From The Golden Book of Chocolate

Serves 4

1.3kg chicken pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
4 tablespoons blanched almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons raisins
3 black peppercorns
1 clove
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons red chilli paste
2/3 cup water
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
30g dark chocolate
salt and pepper

In a large pot, place the chicken pieces, the quartered onion, and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and let it simmer until cooked – about 30 minutes should do the trick. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid into a bowl, setting aside for later. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, discarding the skin.

Place the chicken in a large oven proof bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a dry frying pan, toast the almonds and sesame seeds until lightly browned. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with the raisins, peppercorns, clove and cinnamon and crush until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, along with the chile paste, water, chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes and breadcrumbs and process until smooth.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and saute the processed mixture for about 5 minutes. In a separate saucepan, add 2/3 cup of the reserved stock and the chocolate. Stir over a low heat until melted.

Add the chocolate mixture to the sauteed mixture and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and place in
the oven, baking for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.