Category: Biscuits

Wholegrain Crackers with Homemade Hazelnut Butter and Strawberries

Wholegrain Crackers with Homemade Hazelnut Butter and Strawberries

Last week I made some delicious hazelnut butter, now it’s time for something to it with! I’ve found it really good as a sandwich filler, a porridge topper and a yoghurt pal, however if you want to make something specific to pair with your creation look no further than these delicious wholegrain crackers.  These can taste a little bland on their own, but they’re the perfect carrier for all kinds of toppings from caramel, to nutella to this nut butter.

I’ve also found by topping it all with some fresh berries you can end up bringing some sweetness to the package which makes a great little healthy, filling snack!

Recipe

Makes 18 biscuits

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the crackers

  • 160g Whole-wheat flour
  • 55g Sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp Water

To top

  • 3 tbsp Homemade nut butter (see last week’s recipe for how to make your own!)
  • 4 Fresh Strawberries
  • A few Mint leaves to garnish

Method

  1. Begin by making the crackers. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sesame seeds and salt in a large bowl. Then add the oil and mix it in with a fork to make a crumbly texture. Add the water and then mix with your hands until a smooth dough comes together.
  3. Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper until the thickness of a 1p coin. Cut rounds out of the dough with a cookie cutter, transferring the crackers to your lined trays as you do. Make sure to space them out enough so they’re not touching.
  4. Bake the crackers in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool completely.
  5. When cooled spread your nut butter over the crackers. Hull and slice the strawberries and arrange them on top of the crackers. Garnish with a little mint and then serve!

Alternatives:

Why not try topping the crackers and nut butter with…

  • Sliced banana and chocolate shavings
  • Fig quarters and a drizzle of honey
  • Raspberries and white chocolate

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Strawberries and Cream Jammy Dodgers

Strawberries and Cream Jammy Dodgers

So it’s been a while since my last post as I’ve been taking a rest from everything. I’m one of those people who will try and do everything and then a little bit more on top, which is great fun until you realise you’ve burnt yourself out. But now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to start going crazy in the kitchen again, fully in the knowledge that I will inevitably crash in the short term future – but hey, you’ve got to make the most of your productive times as and when they hit you right?!

These beauties are in homage to my all time favourite British biscuit – the Jammy Dodger! Generally I’m not a biscuit person, but give me one of these and I’m instantly taken back to happy childhood memories of packed lunches and picnics in my back garden. I’ve fancied these up a little by using a rich clotted cream shortbread as the biscuit component. Essentially by using clotted cream as well as butter you end up with an even richer, melt-in-the-mouth biscuit than your regular shortbread (it’s pretty good if I say so myself!).

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

For the biscuit

  • 100g Cold butter
  • 100g Clotted cream
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 300g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg yolk

For the filling

  • 4-5tbsp Strawberry jam

Method

  1. Put the butter, clotted cream and sugar into a bowl and beat together until smooth. Then add the flour and rub the sugar/butter mixture into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tsp water and then add this to the main bowl. Mix together again until a smooth ball of dough forms. Split the dough into 2 equal balls and then cover each one in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Take one of the balls of dough out of the fridge and put it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to about 5mm thick and then cut out 12, 6cm circles using a round cookie cutter. Place these discs on a baking tray and then gather up and re-roll the dough until it’s all used up.
  5. Roll out the other block of dough to the same thickness and repeat the cutting out of circles. Then take a smaller cookie cutter (diameter about 1cm) and stamp out the middles of the second batch of biscuits to create doughnut-like rings.
  6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown and just starting to crisp. Then leave to cool completely on wire racks.
  7. To prepare the filling put the jam into a bowl and mix a little with a small spoon to loosen it up. Turn over the cooled base biscuits (the full circles) and spread a little of the jam over the base of each one. Top with the biscuits with the holes in the top and then enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookies

So funny story about how I found these. I was originally searching on google images for pictures of turtle shaped cookies as I found pictures of the idea on pinterest and I wanted to make some of my own. However, the first things that came up when I searched ‘turtle cookies’ were tonnes of these treats, and they looked so mouthwatering I knew I had to try making some myself! They’re essentially rich chocolate biscuits, rolled in pecans (although I’ve used hazelnuts as I think they’re a superior nut) and then filled with salted caramel and drizzled with melted chocolate. I mean what’s not to love eh?

As you may or may not know it’s currently mental health awareness week – this year focusing on the very key issue of body image so I thought I’d briefly touch on this. We all have bodies and we all have varying opinions of them. Personally I’m not as positive about my body as perhaps I should be. I’m a little too round, too squidgy, too ‘curvy’, whatever is the most pc. I’ve also had an annoying conflict of interests between my passion for baking and my want to be healthy and slim for a really long time. I now find myself constantly swinging between being miserable because I’m not baking in an attempt to eat healthily, and disliking my body because of all the baked goods I eat. Of course there is something called self control, but I’ve never been very good at applying that to myself when it comes to baked goods.  But although I’ve not quite got to the point of accepting my roundness I have started to get to the point where I can accept how I look and not let it affect my mental health which is something for now. So if you’re in a similar position I just want you to know that if you’re insecure about your body firstly know that you are gorgeous, even if you can’t see it,  and secondly that there is so much more to life than how you look. So don’t let size get you down – there’s so much more to focus on and enjoy in life, and having a little extra padding won’t stop you from doing any of it!

Recipe

Makes 20

Time: Around 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 80g Unsalted butter
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg, separated
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 140g Plain flour
  • 40g Cocoa powder
  • 200g Chopped hazelnuts
  • 200g Caramel
  • 1/2 tsp Table salt
  • 25g Milk chocolate to decorate

Method

  1. Begin by making the cookies. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolk, milk and vanilla and mix again until combined.
  3. Stir the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture to make a soft dough. Then wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  4. Take the egg white and whisk it until it’s frothy. Then put the chopped hazelnuts into another bowl.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into 20 equally sized balls. Then dip each one in the egg whites followed by the chopped hazelnuts. Place the balls on a lined baking tray.
  6. Using a round measuring spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) press into the centre of each ball to make a dip.
  7. Bake the cookies in the oven for around 10 minutes until just set. They will harden more when cooled so don’t wait for them to crisp.
  8. Leave the cookies to cool completely on wire racks. Meanwhile put the caramel into a bowl and stir in the salt. Transfer the caramel to a pipping bag and leave in the fridge until needed.
  9. Pipe the caramel into the centre of each cooled cookie and then leave for 5 minutes to set.
  10. Meanwhile melt some chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Spoon the chocolate into a disposable piping bag and cut a small round hole in the bottom. Then pipe a drizzle of chocolate over the top of each cookie. Leave again to set and then serve!

Alternatives to try:

  • Fill the middle with a berry coulis instead of caramel, and then drizzle with dark chocolate.
  • Roll the biscuits in chopped peanuts (or any other nut you’d prefer).
  • Flavour the dough with the zest of 1 lemon/orange and fill with lemon curd/chocolate ganache.

Thanks for reading! For more info on Mental Health Awareness week click on the link here

Emma x

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Dark Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health support recently. It’s always there in my mind but over the past week or so it’s been playing on my mind a bit more. Primarily how do we make support for those with mental illness better? We are lucky enough to have great support in the UK through charity groups and in my case university counselling systems, but it’s still no where near enough for the growing numbers of people needing these services. I’m trying to write an article at the moment for an Oxford newspaper about mental health support in the university and during my research I found that around 12% of the university’s undergraduates tend to use the counselling service every year – and that’s just the people who have the courage to seek help. If that’s the number of people in the system how many are suffering across the entire community?

Unfortunately there’s little large-scale difference a single person can make on ground level. We can do our best to help by starting conversations, breaking down taboos, and raising money for the great organisations that are trying to help. But we can’t reduce NHS waiting times or the way in which help is given by these systems. I grant you that this isn’t much of a positive conclusion. I’d prefer to leave you on a grand call to arms ‘this is how we will go forward’ moment, but alas I think the most I can say for now is look after each other. Talk to each other, have real conversations about real things, not just flippant ones about food or reality tv (although they’re great to!). Bake with friends, eat with friends, take some time for yourself. Find what you enjoy and do that. You don’t have time to be doing anything else.

(On a side note, today I felt like writing about something more poignant than cookies, but nonetheless these are super super moreish and really easy to make so I’d really recommend them for group baking and sharing!)

Recipe

Makes 18

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • 2 tsp Cornflour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 115g Melted butter
  • 150g Brown sugar
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 120g Desiccated coconut
  • 130g Chocolate chips

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornflour and salt into a large bowl and whisk together to combine.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the melted butter and the two sugars until fully combined. Then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and then mix with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Add the desiccated coconut and the chocolate chips and mix again to incorporate them.
  5. Separate and then roll the dough into small balls (about 1 tbsp of mixture each) and then place them on the lined baking trays with some space between them.
  6. Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes until spread and starting to turn golden. Leave to cool and then eat!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Chocolate and Vanilla Rabbit Cookies

Chocolate and Vanilla Rabbit Cookies

Happy Easter! It might seem a little late to have a Easter-themed recipe, but if like me your whole family’s getting together today and you need a baking activity to keep little people occupied (and use up some of the vast quantities of mini eggs floating around) then look no further. I came across this way of shaping cookies online and it looked so cute that I thought I’d give it a try. Granted mine look a little more quirky than the ones I saw on Pinterest and whilst I quite like the variation in my herd I’m gonna blame this on my gingerbread man cutter. The idea is that you make gingerbread men, then fold the arms over a mini egg in the middle, turn them upside down and poke some eyes in and hey presto you’ve got yourself a rabbit holding an Easter egg! Unfortunately my gingerbread man cutter was very human shaped so the bodies were longer than they should have been and as a result I’ve de-capitated the men to get my rabbits, but hey ho I think it worked.

The best way to make this much easier is to make sure the dough is super super cold. I put mine the freezer before and half way through rolling as it made it easier to get the rabbits from the table to the baking trays – otherwise you end up with some very all-shapes-and-sizes kinda rabbits, which is sweet and endearing in it’s own way, but might not be what you’re looking for. You can also mix up the flavours in anyway you want when you’ve got the hang of the shaping. You could add spices or chocolate chips to the dough and/or dip the rabbits in melted chocolate and 100s + 1000s to jazz them up a bit!

Recipe

Makes 16

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 500g Plain flour
  • 25g Cocoa powder
  • 1 small bag of Mini eggs (around 16 eggs total)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper or Teflon sheets.
  2. Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Then add the egg and beat it in.
  3. Equally divide the mixture between two bowls (roughly 220g in each, but I’d recommend measuring the weight of all your dough then dividing it in 2). Add half the flour to each bowl and then add the cocoa powder to one. Mix everything in each bowl together until you have 2 smooth doughs.
  4. Wrap each dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and then transfer it to a freezer 30 minutes before rolling.
  5. Roll one of the doughs out between two sheets of cling film to make a sheet roughly half the thickness of a pound coin. Then cut out as many gingerbread men as you can. Transfer these to your lined baking trays, fold the remaining dough back into a ball and re-roll. Repeat until you’ve used the dough as much as possible. Then do this for your other flavoured dough.
  6. Once you have all your gingerbread men place a mini egg in the ‘belly’ of each with the pointy end facing downwards (towards where the ears will be).
  7. Turn your gingerbread men upside down and from now on think of them as rabbits. Take the two arms and fold them up over the egg to secure it in place. Then take a cocktail stick and if needed chop off the heads of the ex-gingerbread men and place to one side (you can bake these ‘heads’ alongside the rabbits to make bite-sized biscuits).
  8. Using the same cocktail stick poke two eyes in the top of each rabbit to make some eyes and then press the flat of it into each ear to make indents.
  9. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until just starting to go solid and brown a little. They’ll firm up a lot when out of the oven so don’t worry if they’re not crisp. Leave to cool and then enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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