On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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Brioche Snails

Ahh bread. Love it. And really enjoying working with it.

It’s been almost 12 months since we were on the other side of the world. I remember while in Paris Mum asked if we’d had Brioche for breakfast yet.

Truth is I didn’t know what it was. I had to Google it. The best I could do was take a photo of a Brioche loaf that we found in the little Supermarket.

Over past few months I’ve bookmarked a few Brioche recipes. Actually I’ve bookmarked a LOT of recipes.

This is a photo of what was I grabbed for our first breakfast at the hotel , and that photo from the Supermarket. Whatever it is on the left of the plate is what I thought Brioche might be. I’m still not sure.

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Interesting that what we see as a bit of a specialty bread is sold at the supermarket like any loaf of bread.

Almost 12 months later I gave Brioche a go. And it was relatively easy if only I could understand the written instructions. I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is what the Brioche Snails look like complete, with Lime Frosting:

Single serve Brioche Snail

But we need to look at how we got there, and what the journey was like.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s book My Home to Yours. I don’t have the book, but someone had kindly copied the recipe out, and then someone else had been part of “Tuesday’s with Dorie” and had made the Brioche, using it for the Brioche Scrolls. It’s this second link that has the recipe for the Lime Pastry Cream.  The frosting is the same as I made for the Cinnamon Rolls, minus the cream because I had more Lime juice (1/4 cup).

It’s a long process, but mostly because the dough has to sit overnight in the fridge. There was a fair bit of slapping and manhandling on my part before not only could the dough rest, but me too. I didn’t climb into bed until 11:20pm, waaaay past my bedtime. I started this before 7pm.

Right, now for the photos and story telling. The first set are taken at night, so there’s some mood lighting. Not really, it’s just a lack of anything that resembles “natural light”.

Making Brioche Dough

First up is a shot of the dough having the water, milk, salt and yeast mixed to a “shaggy dry mix”. Then there’s the eggs followed by the sugar, and a PILE of butter. If you’re worried about all that butter, then this is not the sort of bread you should be eating. But I wont tell if you don’t Winking smile

Simple ingredients and pretty simple method of incorporating them. You start adding the butter in 2 tablespoons at a time until it’s almost all disappeared. You need to know that the butter preferred to hang out on the sides of my bowl and have nothing to do with the actual dough. To begin with the dough is really tough, but the more butter that is incorporated the slacker the dough is until its this beautiful golden colour, thanks to the butter. It’s soft and very pliable. It took me 15 minutes to get all the butter in, and then only 5 minutes of what was suggested to be 10 minutes, before the dough no longer stuck to the side of the bowl. Actually it was good after 3 minutes. I was just too scared that if I didn’t keep kneading it in the KitchenAid that I’d be doing it a disservice.

Talking of all this heavy mixing and length of time, understandably the KA was getting very warm. I kept hoping not to see any smoke. I don’t want to think about having to wait the full 10 minutes before the dough no longer stuck to the side of the bowl.

Overnight Brioche Dough

When the dough is finished kneading you leave it to rest in a bowl for around 40-60 minutes. That’s pretty quick going. And it was all it took, just 60 minutes. It still looked really good. I completely misunderstood the instructions about deflating the dough. This is what it says: Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl.

What did I do? Pick up a piece of the dough from the side of the bowl, stretch it and let it fall into the bowl. But it never slapped. And I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until the very last “deflation” at 11:20pm that it finally dawned on me how I was meant to deflate it.

So this is it, scoop your hands down between the dough and the side of the bowl, lift the whole lot up and then let the dough go, sending it back to the bowl which will result in the “slapping” sound. So for 2 hours, or 5 rounds of deflation I manhandled the dough by pulling bits from around the bowl.

What worried me more was leaving the dough uncovered overnight. I understood the dough needed to dry out a little, but I fully expected that it would dry with a slight crust to the top. And it did. And it was my turn to feel deflated. I really thought it was ruined. I went back to gottagetbaked’s website and looked at her photos of the dough being prepared for the pans and I knew it was not even close to what mine looked like. See how dry and solid it looks (above).

I decided to take a pinch of the dough and roll it into a ball to see if it softened up with the warmth of my hands. It did. Relief.

Next up was the Pastry Cream. It needed to be cold and I needed to get the Brioche Snails ready for the second rise by around 11:30am.

Lime Pastry Cream

The Pastry Cream was straight forward. Understanding “the consistency of pudding” still baffles me. I don’t know what “pudding” is, it could be any warmed dessert, but I sort of assume it’s like an Instant Pudding. I haven’t had that since I was a kid. A good many decades ago now!

I guess we need to back up a little here. I was looking for lemons at the supermarket on Friday, I wanted to make another batch of Lemon Curd, but there weren’t any lemons! As an aside, when I nipped to the local supermarket today, they didn’t have lemons either. Given there were no lemons I decided to splash out and buy Limes. I just needed to think of how I was going to use them. You can then imagine my joy when I found the recipe for the Brioche Snails using Lime Pastry Cream. It’s like all the planets had lined up.

With the cost of Limes there was no way I was going to let all that Lime zest go to waste. So I zested the limes first (and the zest is in the freezer) before squeezing the juice. I had to zap the limes in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to make them more ready to give up the juice.

Pastry Cream consistency

For anyone in doubt of the sort of consistency you’re after for “pudding”, hopefully the above photo will be helpful. I actually hadn’t left enough time, the thickening of the cream was taking a lot longer than the recipe suggested. In the end I put the cream into the freezer, first for 10 minutes, and then back in for the time I was away to the supermarket and back (possibly 20 minutes). When I got home I removed the cream and noticed the free-flow strawberries the bowl had been resting on now contained partially defrosted strawberries.

Making Brioche Snails

I don’t really know what Gingersnaps are, I can only think of Brandy Snaps, and only because of the snap. We had a packet of Gingernuts up in the “Naughty Pantry”, they were well passed their best by date, as is many of the naughty things in that pantry, but I gave 5 or so of them a bash with the rolling pin and they were still hard, and still needed many whacks of the rolling pin to crush. I also tested one, it still had enough crunch to make me hope it wasn’t going to knock a front tooth out.

I should have floured the surface but because the Silpat had a slight greasy feel and the dough seemed quite stiff I didn’t. But I paid for that when it came to rolling the dough up. Once the dough is rolled out nice and thin it’s back to being tacky and silky. And that meant it was reluctant to part ways with the Silpat. On went the pastry cream followed by the beaten up Gingernuts. And I rolled and pushed and sort of made the right shape out of the dough.

Slicing it was the next hurdle. I guess I thought it would be as clean and easy as the Cinnamon Rolls I made on Thursday. Wrong. I used the nylon thread which had worked so well for me then, and it did work well, but with the dough being so soft and with a wet-ish filling, it all wanted to slop out and sag.

Making snails

It didn’t take me long to realise that I should slice the whole thing up first before moving a slice to the muffin pan, which I sprayed first. I didn’t want to end up in tears because the jolly thing wouldn’t release from the pan.

As well as making the snails I used the other half of the dough to make little balls which were rolled in castor sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ginger. I would say you could bypass all that singular spice for good old Mixed Spice, something I understand isn’t available in the States.  I followed the directions from Noshing with the Nolands.

Bioche Balls 2nd rise

I also make mini Brioche loaves. I want to use the bread for French Toast, I’ve heard it’s the best.

Brioche Mini Loaves

These set of photos also show the before and after 2nd rise, which you need to allow 90 minutes for.

Brioche Snails 2nd rise

Unlike other bread, Brioche continues to rise during baking. I was sitting at the table, eating the Lasagne I made ANZAC day (yet to write that one up – I suspect it’ll be a mammoth task and I’m procrastinating) with Mr Fussy, my MIL and Mum and keeping an eye on the oven. I was almost convinced the snails would rise so much they’d pop out of the tin.

Baked Brioche Snails

After baking you could sort of make out that the snails were in fact rolled. Sort of.

And the little sugar/spice balls:

Brioche Muffin Balls

And the mini loaves:

Baked Brioche Mini Loaves

Under normal circumstances you’d brush the loaves with an egg wash, but since I’ll be using MY loaf for French Toast, which will be soaked in egg I decided it wasn’t necessary.

I guess I’m a little disappointed with the bread on several levels.

  • The Lime Pastry Cream was completely absorbed into the bread.
  • The Lime in the Pastry Cream was barely recognisable, I hoped the flavour would develop during the time it was in the fridge. It didn’t.
  • The Ginger taste was non-existent. Mum made a comment about it at lunch and Mr Fussy was taken completely by surprise, he had no idea there was Ginger in there.

The texture wasn’t nearly as silky as the photo that I saw on the blog culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.

Snail texture

All in all I enjoyed making the Brioche, even though re-reading through the post it sounds like I didn’t. While there are aspects of the Brioche that didn’t live up to my expectations, and I have nothing to gauge it on, never having had Brioche, the Snails were still pleasant to eat, albeit a little egg-y due to the pastry cream being absorbed. I’ve got 8 left, then the little balls, and plenty of frosting. I think we’ll be eating Brioche in many forms for a few days yet.


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Cinnamon Rolls–oh so sweet

I’ve been wanting to make Averie’s Cinnamon Roll recipe since it was posted. Okay it’s not like a huge amount of time has passed, but it’s been on my mind ever since. So it’s great to finally tick this one off, and let my mind go to the next thing.

I had not planned to do anything huge on ANZAC day, it was going to be a bit of a blob out day. Well I made Lasagna in the afternoon, along with fresh pasta. So yeah, just cruising through the day.

But what a great way to start of the day with these cinnamon rolls. We had them for lunch.

Cinnamon Roll

You can head over to Averie’s blog (link above) for the recipe.

While Averie suggested you read the recipe 3 times, I still made a mistake. I had read through Averie’s description of how she made the recipe and got all the way through to the list of ingredients (3 times) but never really got to all the directions.

For me, given the way in which I was following along, it would have been better to list the flour as:

4 1/4 cups – divided.

So the mistake I made was to measure out the ingredients as I was reading through the list, and throwing in ALL of the flour when I should have started with 4 and added the other 1/4 as needed.

For all that the scrolls worked out fine, though I believe they would be fluffier had I not included the other 1/4 cup.

So now for a stack of photos. I find photos really helpful when baking bread.

Making the dough

The dough should have been a bit stickier than it was. Averie describes it as tacky and it should stick to the bottom of the bowl but come away clean from the sides. Mine came away clean for everywhere. Yes I thought about adding a bit more buttermilk or butter but I’d already made one mistake, I don’t know bread enough to know if I can get away with those sorts of ad-hoc changes.

cinnamon roll filling

Mr Fussy is not keen on cinnamon, not at all. I was a little apprehensive about making the recipe but I really like Cinnamon. It didn’t want to make something Mr Fussy wouldn’t eat, where he had to fix something different for his lunch. But he was reluctantly okay with it, and more ok with it when I said I could add sultanas. There’s no measurement, but a scattering of sultanas over the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

I used only 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, just to keep the peace.

rolling the dough

It goes brown sugar, cinnamon, sultanas and roll.

This was one dough that I needed to roll. Usually I can just push it about with my hands. I’m certain the extra 1/4 cup made all the difference here too.

cutting and 2nd rise

Pinching the end is probably the hardest thing for me. Sometimes it just wont stick to itself. So be careful not to put butter on the edge you’ll be pinching to the dough, but i think it’s ok to have spread the filling to the edge of the other sides, though you might find some of it spills out of the ends.

You may not be able to see it, but in the top right photo is nylon thread I had and used to cut the roll. This made a really clean cut without squishing the roll. However my fingers got a bit slippery and that made it harder to keep hold of the thread. Make sure that get both ends of the thread to meet before pulling to make the “slice”. You can see that my slices are nice and clean, but not necessarily even. The bottom right photo is after the rolls have been left for a second rise. You can see that they rose a little more.

Cream cheese lemon frosting

And then comes the frosting. You can make this while the rolls are baking.

I prefer a more subtle cream cheese flavour and I love citrus so I made up my own frosting. You can leave the lemon juice out if you prefer, you may need to adjust with more cream (or replace with milk if you wish). I also didn’t make as much as Averie suggests. When I served these and explained there was just half the frosting of the original recipe, Mr Fussy commented there’s a reason America has such an obesity problem. Not that Averie used all her recipe, she goes on to explain how long the frosting can be kept in the fridge or how long you can freeze it for.

Cream Cheese Lemon Frosting

Ingredients

  • 55gm butter, softened
  • 65gm cream cheese
  • 2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbs cream

Instructions

  • Cut the cream cheese up into 2cm cubes.
  • Place the cream cheese in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften slightly
  • Add to a mixing bowl the butter and cream cheese.
  • Using a hand mixer or wooden spoon, or a stand mixer cream the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and beat in.
  • Add the icing sugar and with the mixer on low, mix until the icing sugar is fully incorporated. If you’re mixing with a wooden spoon you can take a reprieve and not beat so vigorously.
  • Add cream a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  • Spoon over the rolls as soon as they are out of the oven.

baked and frosted

I think we can all agree that there’s plenty of coverage of frosting. I used a good dessert spoon on each of the rolls. I think waiting several minutes wouldn’t hurt because the frosting started to melt and slide off the rolls. You want it to seep into the cracks though.

And several photos of these delicious, but very sweet rolls. Mr Fussy would only have a second if it was small. So much for trying to cut them all evenly.

Melted brown sugar

The brown sugar was bubbling up between the rolls. It never burnt. It was absolutely lovely using the now cooled slabs of melted brown sugar to scoop up the remaining frosting that had pooled in the bottom of the dish.

a smattering of sultanas

And the sultanas that made this recipe alright with Mr Fussy. He said he was fine with the rolls, he didn’t find the amount of cinnamon I added obvious.

With adding sultanas to the filling, I had to push the sultanas into the cut rolls so that they wouldn’t be exposed so much and burn. Nothing worse than biting into a sweet roll and getting carbon sultana spoiling it.

cinnamon roll texture

And the texture of the bread. As I mentioned earlier, I think this would be even fluffier had I not added the extra 1/4 cup of flour.

We had so many of these. The next day we each had one. I had it as is, Mr Fussy microwaved his for 15 seconds and I didn’t ask what my MIL did. But it’s true that these are perfect the day they are made and not nearly as nice the following day.

Today, yes there were more! I put the oven on 100 and left the rolls in there (frosting and all) for 15 minutes. They were nicely warmed through with made all the difference, but still nothing beats a fresh out of the oven roll.

I’ll be making this recipe again. I can’t wait to see the difference with just the 4 cups of flour.

Oh, and I measure the flour. Each cup is 150gm. At least that’s what I use. It’s so hard to know how each person measures their flour and even following the same method can still result in a different volume.


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Hitting the jackpot with this Caramel White Chocolate cupcake

In case you didn’t know, my favourite flavour is caramel. I don’t think I’ve mentioned my favourite chocolate. White. I love Milky Bar. The Whittaker’s White chocolate is also nice but not as creamy as Milky Bar.

But the Pièce de résistance goes to Lindt White Chocolate. Have you tried it before?

Lindt White Chocolate balls

Today’s baking was going to be a non-rushed casual affair where I tried a bunch of different tips and tricks I’ve been reading up on during the past week or so.

They included:

Single cupcake liner vs. double

Lower oven temperature on fan bake/forced

Covering the cupcakes immediately they are out of the oven

Trying a fondant covered cupcake

Ingredients

For several weeks now I’ve had it on my mind to add the Lindt balls to cupcakes. My sister, Natalie, had bought me several packages of them back from their holiday trip during the New Year. They were immediately put into the freezer.

Last weekend when I made the Lemon Cupcakes I knew the density of the batter was right for balls of heavenly sweet white chocolate to be plonked in but not ruined by sinking fast to the bottom.

Batter and balls

I varied the recipe a little as I mentioned in my notes in the Lemon Cupcake recipe.

These are the changes I made to today’s batter, which was using 1/2 the ingredients from the recipe for the cupcakes:

  • Added 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Replaced milk for buttermilk
  • Added 1/4 tsp caramel flavour by Lorann Oils
  • Used 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* If you’re making the full batter as per the Lemon Cupcake recipe, you’ll need to double the additional baking powder and caramel flavour from my changes above.

* For the frosting I added a little caramel flavour (and it’s all gone now), there’s no vanilla extract in the frosting.

I used my little cookie scoop and added two to each cupcake liner (I had doubled 3 of the cupcake liners for my experiment). Then I unwrapped my frozen Lindt Chocolate balls and placed one in the middle before spooning about a teaspoon of batter over the top.

A surprise lays in wait

I used a toothpick to mix my 2 scoops of batter to the bottom so they didn’t settle like two distinct scoops, and then I used the toothpick again to move the batter around to make sure each chocolate ball was completely covered.

And as soon as 6 minutes into baking I was holding my breath and begging these little beauties not to overflow onto the pan, because yes, I had overfilled them, as it turns out.

A little too much batter

No judging how cloudy my oven door is. The photo on the left is at 6 minutes the photo on the right is after 16 minutes.

With the oven set at just 150 degrees Celsius, these cupcakes took 24 minutes to bake. Last time I got 15 cupcakes, this time just 12, but I could have probably gotten 15 if I’d not used quite as much batter, and saved myself the angst of overfilling and thwarting some of my plans on decorating them.

hole in one

I’ve got a little crater in that front cupcake. And the overfilling was salvageable. None spilled so much that they stuck to the tray.

So as soon as I’d taken my photos these cupcakes were put directly into a Tupperware container to allow the moisture to be absorbed into the cupcakes keeping them moist.

Double trouble

So, to the question about whether doubling the cupcake liners is worthwhile or not. The two front cupcakes, the the right cupcake with the Baby Shower (yes, that’s what it is) liner are doubles. So the Baby Shower liner on the left and the one on the far right cupcakes are single lined.

I think I’ve decided that it’s better to bake them single lined, and then shove them into a second liner when they’re ready to serve. Partly too because as these cupcakes were sitting in the container, building up a good sweat, the 2nd liner started to pull away. So that left it sagging and looking a little unhappy.

CWCCC Lindt balls

This is what I’m talking about. This cupcake has the second liner added at the point of serving (well photographing, I haven’t yet gobbled this one up).

I did manage to make a fondant top. It wasn’t the best because:

  • The cupcake was too full meaning I didn’t have an edge to the liner to bring my frosting down to.
  • The top wasn’t perfectly round, probably related to the overfilling, maybe
  • The round cutter set I have didn’t have quite the right size. I needed a size between what I used, and the next one up. I’ve since grabbed out my Ateco Round set and I think I’ve got the right size. I’ll have to wait another week to try this again.

So what did it look like?

Fondant covered

I was having fun in the kitchen with embossing mats/folders. So I made some little fondant flowers while I was at it. And then added it to a cupcake. This is probably NOT Mr Fussy’s cupcake. Besides he doesn’t want any questions about why he’s got a cupcake with a baby themed liner

fondant flowers

But he might be brave enough to take this one.

Fondant topper

I forgot that I was going to add one of the fondant circles I’d made on ANZAC day while puddling about in the kitchen. I’d already frosted the cupcakes with the Wilton 1M tip. Oh well. I just added it and squished down on the icing. This cupcake will make your teeth hurt, not from the dried fondant, but the cupcake is so rich without, well even without the frosting, but add to that the fondant topper and you’ll probably only be taking a mouthful and feeling like it’s time for a glass of milk.

Soft centred Lindt White Chocolate

As for the surprise filling. Look at that. I knew just looking at this and eating it with my eyes, that I would love it. After all, what’s not to love about  a caramel and white chocolate combo. But the chocolate was still soft and gooey and it’s rich and decadent and it’s thick and creamy.

I have to tell you that I’ll be reluctantly sharing these during the week with Mr Fussy.

Cupcake texture

As for the texture, well after adding some baking powder and swapping the milk for buttermilk the texture is still a little of the firm side by comparison to some cupcakes I’ve made. But I didn’t want the chocolate balls to sink to the bottom and you can see there’s a good big of cupcake under the chocolate. These are slightly lighter than the Lemon Cupcakes from last weekend, but still not close to being the super fluffy cupcakes that Mr Fussy is more fond of. Though he did enjoy this (rats!).

All I can say in summing up is I’m glad Natalie bought me 5 packages of white chocolate Lindt balls, because I’ll be making this again Open-mouthed smile


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Poppies

I had been aiming to make poppies for cookies this weekend when Mum asked if I could make some for her work.

Sure. How many I asked, thinking everyone was taking a plate. 30 was the reply. 30 wasn’t a problem, that’s one batch of cookie dough. And I hoped I could pull off 30 fondant poppies.

Fondant poppy

I enjoyed all aspects of making the cookies and decorating them.

I started out with the usual vanilla cookie recipe from Bridget of Bake at 350.

But I jazzed it up and changed a thing or two.

These are those changes:

  • Cut the baking powder from 2 tsp to 1 tsp
  • Added 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon Lorann Caramel flavour
  • Added a pinch of salt
  • Added 1 Tbs brown sugar

I also changed the method and did the chill/freeze thing that I mentioned in the Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe.

It made a difference. While the cookies haven’t spread all that much, they shape does tend to move a little and soften. But not this time. Look:

Neat and tidy edges

The shapes cut much more cleanly having rolled the dough and chilled it before cutting the shapes out.

I know this isn’t the same shape, but you can get a feel for how much spreading the cookies did while baking.

Minimal spread

Hardly any spread. And the shape still looks neat.

I am now a convert of the chill/freeze method. So long as I’ve got enough space in the fridge for a sandwich tin. I guess I’ll always have to bake these before I bake bread. Once the bread is baked the freezer drawer is chocka.

Here’s the different varieties I made, using the Chocolate and Vanilla/Caramel cookies, and the Fondant and Royal Icing poppies.

Poppy varieties

All that’s left to do of the 30 cookies for Mum’s work is to attach them with the green stem that’s yet to be piped. I’m a bit reluctant to do that until tomorrow because I’m not overly cautious about how dry the royal icing is after my Fern cookies ended up smooshed in the container.

Everything is good to go though and it wont take more than 5 minutes for those last finishing touches.

I’m glad I’m not having to take them, with the poppies being more life-like they wont sit nice and flat in a container. I do hope they’ll behave.

Poppy portrait

Plate of poppies


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Chocolate Cookies that hold their shape

I’ve been using a vanilla cookie recipe for the cookies I’ve been decorating with Royal Icing (RI). After 3 weekends with the same recipe I thought it was time to mix things up a bit.

I know you can make gingerbread and chocolate cookies. And chocolate cookies is what I made. Otherwise the title of this post would be a bit strange, wouldn’t it Smile

Dough mixture

I made half a batch of the cookie dough from Sweetapolita’s website. Everything on Rosie’s blog looks fantastic, most things are totally adorable and she even makes the cookies in all their plainness look amazing.

Go check out the post.

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies by Rosie

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups (137 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (8 g) salt
  • 2 cups (454 g)(4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) white sugar
  • 1 cup (228 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, cold
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a large bowl sift the flour and the cocoa powder together.
  • Add the salt.
  • In a mixing bowl add the butter and both sugars.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until lightened in colour, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time and mixing until just combined.
  • Scrape the bowl down as necessary.
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix until blended.
  • Add all the flour and cocoa powder and mix on low until mostly combined.
  • Using a large sturdy spoon chop/mix the dough to incorporate any bits of flour/cocoa that hasn’t been picked up by the mixer.
  • Using waxed paper tip the dough out onto the wax paper (you’ll need to do this in batches due to the volume of dough).
  • Place another piece of wax paper on top and roll to around 5mm thick.
  • Place the rolled dough into the fridge for around 45 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • When the dough is thoroughly chilled cut the shapes out.
  • Place the shapes into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 7 minutes then rotate the tray and continue to bake a further 8 minutes until the edges are crisp.
  • Leave the cookies on the try for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

My Notes:

  • I halved this recipe and was so thankful Rosie had given weight measurements.
  • I used only 1 egg.
  • I used my Equagold Dutch Processed cocoa, I think the better quality cocoa you have will make a difference. I almost used my Valrhona cocoa but chickened out.
  • I didn’t use softened butter, it was straight from the fridge which meant it took a little longer to cream. I would do it the same next time.
  • Rosie uses unsalted butter. I found the taste of salt a little too obvious so either I’ll use unsalted butter and the same measurement of salt, or reduce the salt.
  • I didn’t follow Rosie’s instructions to the letter. I found that rolling the dough out, chilling then cutting the shapes worked really well. I think my shapes are as crisp so I’m happy to continue with my slightly adapted method.
  • Some of my cookie cut outs were probably in the freezer a little longer than stated, but it didn’t make any difference, so long as you watch for the crisp edges since a more frozen dough will take a bit longer to bake.
  • I thought the whole chill/freeze thing would make it quite labour intensive. It didn’t really. I had other things to do in-between the chilling/freezing so never felt I was sitting around filling in time.
  • Given how well the edges of the cookies held I’ll continue with the chilling/freezing method since the results are well worth the extra step.
  • The smell of these cookies baking was heavenly. And they taste really good too.
  • There’s been a number of comments saying the cookies were too crunchy. I haven’t found that, there’s a little crunch to the edge but the middles are almost chewy.

Pre and post bakeLook at those photos. The same bit of torn cookie dough is exactly the same after baking. These cookies spread just the slightest amount but still look crisp with very straight edges. frozen cookies

I’ve always boo-hooed the idea of freezing cookie dough mostly because I didn’t think I had space in the freezer, but I had space for this old sandwich tin and it worked out just great.

Bumpy cookies

Well. The last lot I made was from the scraps of the other 3 trays. Even though I chilled the dough before cutting the shapes, then froze them for the same amount of time, I ended up with bumps. I can only put it down to not making a ball of dough, I more or less just pulled it all together and then rolled it. That’s all I can put it down to.

I used these cookies with Royal Icing to make some decorated cookies for ANZAC Day. You could leave them plain or sandwich together with another type of icing/frosting. They are very very tasty.


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ANZAC Day–we remember

ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance. You’ll see people selling and wearing poppies a week or so ahead of ANZAC Day. The reporters on TV are wearing them, though I’ve not actually seen any being sold, but then I’ve been offsite working with a client all week so I’m not close to the mall.

Making fondant poppies

I’ve borrowed my Mother In Law’s poppy for this photo.

I wanted to bake especially for ANZAC Day. While I don’t go to a Dawn Parade I do think about what the day means, and I think about our old soldiers and how few there are living. It makes me think of my Grandad too, not that he served in New Zealand. My Grandad came to New Zealand as an adult, from Liverpool, England.

Some weeks ago now, I found a poppy silicone mould on eBay and immediately ordered it. Last Saturday it arrived.

On Monday I had a go at colouring white fondant, red. While it eventually turned the right colour, as did my hands, it was far too soft and wouldn’t release from the mould.

I promptly ordered red fondant from one of my favourite cake decorating online shops, Cake Stuff, but it didn’t arrive by Friday which is really unusual. Mr Fussy and I quickly nipped out to Spotlight because I knew they stocked Satin Ice fondant (which I’ve never used) hoping to find red. We were in luck.

And of course as Murphy would have it, the courier turned up with all my Cake Stuff goodies. As you can imagine, I now have a pile of red fondant. I suggested making Father Christmas which brought a huge smile and glint to Mr Fussy’s eyes as he suggested Santa cookies. He can be such a child. I love it.

Royal Icing poppies

Meanwhile I decided to pipe poppy-like flowers with Royal Icing.

I was making some cookies for Mum to take to work for a morning tea on Wednesday but also wanted to take some cookies to work as well, along with the ANZAC biscuits I made. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to make 30 fondant poppies and I need lots of practice using different tips and techniques for piping so this was a really good excuse. Actually, other than the shade of “red”, these turned out ok and if you didn’t see the fondant poppies, I think you’d be really happy with these.

I used a petal tip 104 for the petals. I used an Ateco flower nail with lots of square waxed pieces of paper to pipe the poppies onto. After they had dried overnight (and the colour changed – it actually started out the very same shade as the fondant poppies) I piped some black RI and sprinkled black sanding sugar over. It really is quite a nice look and makes the poppies come alive a little. Adding the green stem really finished them off nicely.

Kiwi Fern

The black was also intended for the fern I was going to add using the wet-on-wet technique to Mr Fussy’s biscuits, but I wanted to try the image I had seen when I searched for Poppies, then looked for a Fern. The design was actually for an iPhone cover. It turned out OK, perhaps better than I expected given how thin some of the lines needed to be, but it could be better. I was in two minds whether to go back and pipe white between the black but I got lazy.

Anyway, the ferns and wet-on-wet technique worked well, eventually. I was having a bit of a struggle with getting the flow of the fern stem right. And the proportions of how long the fern leaves (what are they called?) should be.

I’d like to show you my favourite one but this happened:

smudged

So I bet you can guess what the cookies looked like. The cookies I so carefully piped and struggled with and finally got something that looked how I wanted (not all of them in the next photo, in actual fact they started out damn ugly).

Smudged ferns

So what is the moral of the story? When it rains all day (and impossibly dark for any half decent photos) then don’t expect the RI to set as quickly as it does on a dry day. Plus the black was probably just a little too runny for “flood consistency”. And it bled into the white just a little.

So boys and girls, be extra patient with black and store the cookies in a single layer to avoid this unsightly mess.

Anyway, I had good intentions for ANZAC Day themed baking. And it once upon a time looked half decent. And I’ve learnt a few important lessons through all this.

Which I will remember.

I’ll have another post with the fondant poppies when I’ve finished making them. Right now they’ve been flooded and I don’t want to get so eager as to start making them up, knowing the RI probably will take longer to set, since again, it’s been raining today.


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ANZAC biscuits

Biscuits, yes you read right. If you’re from New Zealand and Australia, you know these as biscuits, not cookies as biscuits are called in America and Canada (and I don’t know where else). Of course biscuits are biscuits in the UK as well (and I don’t know where else). And scones, well they’re biscuits I think in America and Canada. Confused?

NZ Flag

ANZAC Day is the 25th April (yes I typed that out like a NZer Smile with tongue out). ANZAC Day is a day we observe and remember the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

I’ve never been to a Dawn Parade, I’ve always enjoyed having the choice to lay in and not get ready for work.

In New Zealand Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day are not days off if they fall on the weekend, but this past week the Bill was passed through law and both days have now been Monday-ised.

While I’m coming clean on all sorts of things, I’ve not made ANZAC Biscuits for, well forever. Though I do like rolled oats and golden syrup and all the other goodies that you’ll find in ANZAC Biscuits.

This recipe is not from the Edmonds Cookbook, though there is one. It has the same ingredients but the proportions are slightly different, as is the cooking temperature and duration.

 

Large and small biscuits

This recipe is from an Australian Blog, you’ll find it on Megann’s Kitchen. Megann has a few extra photos of the actual making of the biscuits, but they’re easy to make. You don’t need a mixer. You just need a big bowl for all the dry ingredients (minus the baking soda) and a small pot to melt the butter and golden syrup. See, anyone could whip up a batch of these. In fact I’ve whipped up two batches. Friday I made the large biscuits and had enough mixture to make a few little biscuits. Today I made all little biscuits, I’ve got 29 of them. Just enough for all the staff on my floor at work (minus myself).

Ingredients

ANZAC Biscuits

Ingredients

1¼ cups plain flour, sifted

1 cup rolled oats

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

¾ cup desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle

150g unsalted butter, chopped

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 Tbs hot water

Instructions

Heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, rolled oats, both white and brown sugar and coconut.

On a low heat melt the butter and golden syrup.

In a small bowl mix the hot water and baking soda, then add this mixture to the butter/golden syrup. Watch for the bubbles, it will all froth up a bit.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Mix to combine, it wont take long. The mixture will be a little crumbly but holds together when you make a ball.

Or, use a cookie scoop to measure the biscuit mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or a Silpat.

The biscuits wont spread much at all, and you’ll leave them in a mound.

Cook the biscuits for 7 minutes.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and using a flat bottom glass press the glass onto the biscuit to flatten them to around 1.5 cm thick.

Rotate the tray and return the biscuits to the oven and continue to cook a further 6 or 7 minutes.

When the biscuits are nice and crisp on the outside, and possibly still a little soft in the middle they are baked.

Leave the biscuits on the tray for further 5-7 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack.

My Notes:

The large biscuits were scooped from my 3Tbls cookie scoop and made biscuits around 9cm in size.

I slightly flattened the biscuits and had to press them together a little because the scoop dislodges the rounded top as you release the mixture.

I used whole grain rolled oats.

I didn’t think Baking Soda had a shelf life but I didn’t get quite the froth and energetic bubbles when I mixed the BS and water with the butter and golden syrup as I expected. I’ll be putting that on the shopping list.

Baking ANZAC biscuits

I didn’t think Mr Fussy would be keen on these for his work lunches given there’s rolled oats in there, but he seems quite happy to take them. Perhaps he’s just thankful for a change from cupcakes since I said I didn’t have time to make any of them. These are a refreshing change to all that buttercream frosting.

Plate of ANZAC biscuits

Mr Fussy gets the “giant” biscuits. I might suggest he warms them up a little, I know that sounds odd, but the one I had this morning (for the purpose of the above photo showing a bite out of a biscuit) felt like it had softened a little, despite being in a Tupperware container and baked only 2 days ago. They are slightly chewy.

Still is there anything nicer than a warmed biscuit? I love them that way, it’s like they’ve just been freshly baked. They smell great too.

So to our Australian cousins across the ditch, we make a great team, even though when it comes to sport we’re fiercely supportive of our respective countries. May all our battles continue to be only on the playing fields.