Tag: Biscuits

Hazelnut Biscotti with a Chocolate Ganache and an Orange Curd

Hazelnut Biscotti with a Chocolate Ganache and an Orange Curd

Happy Christmas for yesterday folks! I hope that where ever you are you had a lovely day and that you found some Christmas cheer. With all the festivities going on we can sometimes forget that this can be a very hard time of year for some people, especially those coping those with the loss of a loved one or a mental illness, so if you’re finding the season a little emotional warms hugs and best wishes are being sent your way – it will get better with time! x

From one celebration to another – New Years Eve! At the moment I have this little obsession with buying foreign food magazines when I’m abroad. The different cuisines are so interesting and although most of the time they’re in a different language, meaning I can’t read the writing, I love looking at the pictures and tying to work backwards to what the recipe might be. A few years ago I came across a page in an Italian magazine with two turquoise bowls, one filled with a thick brown ganache and another filled with a glossy orange curd looking substance. I immediately thought of these as being dipping accompaniments to some nutty biscuits, so a few years later here we are!

With the festive season drawing to a close all eyes now look forward to New Years eve, and these are perfect canape type thing for a party or gathering on the night! The biscotti can easily be picked up, dipped and eaten like sweet nachos in guacamole. Whilst it might seem like extra effort to make dipping sauces for biscuits, with these ones I’d seriously recommend you make the effort. Biscotti are crisp Italian biscuits which are twice baked and therefore without the sauces they can be a little too dry to be really enjoyable. However if the thought of new years mahem sends you into a spin you could serve these with some nutella, thinned out with a little double cream and some shop bought preserve or curd instead!

Recipe

Makes 20 biscuits

Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

For the Biscotti

  • 2 Medium eggs
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 250g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g Chopped hazelnuts, plus extra to serve

For the Orange curd

  • 40g Cornflour
  • 3 Large Oranges
  • 1 Lemon
  • 300ml Water
  • 3 Medium egg yolks
  • 85g Caster sugar
  • 50g Butter

For the Ganache

  • 150g Double cream
  • 130g Dark chocolate

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the eggs into a bowl with some sugar and whisk together until pale a fluffy. Add the flour, bicarb, orange zest and hazelnuts and mix these into the egg mixture until a soft dough forms.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into 20cm long sausage (and as wide as you want the length your biscuits to be, I went for about 5 cm). Place the block onto a baking tray and then flatten it slightly. Bake the biscotti block in the oven for 25-30 minutes until starting to brown and go slightly crisp on the outside.
  4. Take the block out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 160˚C. Leave the biscuit to cool completely.
  5. Place the biscuit block on a chopping board and slice it into 1cm wide biscuits.
  6. Lay these biscuits flat on a baking tray and then bake for a further 10-15 minutes to crisp up. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then move onto the orange curd.
  7. Put the cornflour, orange juice and zest, and the lemon juice and zest into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  8. Next pour the water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Pour the hot water onto the citrus mix, whisking constantly, until combined.
  9. Pour the orange mixture back into the pan and heat gently whilst stirring until the curd has thickened up. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg yolks, sugar and butter. Mix together with a whisk until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Then pour the curd into a jug and set aside for later.
  10. Now make the ganache. Chop the chocolate up finely and put it into a bowl. Then pour the cream into a pan and bring to the boil. Take the cream off the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted and a thick ganache has started to form. Transfer the ganache to a bowl for later.
  11. When everything is ready serve the biscotti with the curd and ganache in little pots to dip into, and lots of coffee! Any leftover curd or ganache will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Nutella Viennese Biscuits

Nutella Viennese Biscuits

I think there’s something very British about biscuits. We’ve got to the point in our culture where we have very little cuisine we can call our own other than that which we’ve appropriated from other cultures. But for some reason the hearty biscuit with a good cup of tea feels well and truly British. That said, alas, one of my favourite biscuits is the crumbly almighty Viennese biscuit, which guessing by the name is Austrian. I first came across these when I made them at school way back when. I remember them being a pain to pipe as the mixture was so solid, but they tasted divine. The other day I was re-acquainted with these in Sainsburys, this time sandwiched together with some chocolate, and I was reminded of just how good they are!

These are kind of like a more crumbly, lighter shortbread smothered in chocolate and hazelnuts – kinda like the biscuit equivalent of that perfect friend who not only is perfect but is also really nice so they’re impossible to hate. Simply put, these look amazing, taste incredible and have a texture to die for. As long as you don’t over work the mixture they’ll be as crumbly as an archaeological dig through a wet sand pit. They are a little hard to pipe to begin with, but persevere and the mixture will eventually warm up enough to pipe smoothly. If it’s really hard to begin with you might need to use scissors to chop the sticks of dough off the end of the pipping bag! I used Nutella in these as I was looking for something tasty and sticky to act as a ganache substitute in the middle (as I really didn’t want to have to bother with making something else to sandwhich them with) and it worked so so well!

Recipe

Makes 24

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Cornflour
  • ½ tsp Baking powder

For the filling

  • 4 tbsp Nutella
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 50g Chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Take a ruler and draw 24, 6cm lines on each sheet to act as your guides for later. Then turn the paper over so the lines are on the other side.
  2. Put the butter and icing sugar into a large bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla and whisk again to combine.
  3. Add the flour, cornflour and baking powder into the mixture until everything’s combined.
  4. Spoon the dough into a pipping bag with a star shaped nozzle and pipe lines of the dough, using your lines you drew earlier as a guide.
  5. Put the biscuits into freezer for about 10 minutes to set the shape. Then bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes until pale golden and slightly crispy. Leave the biscuits to cool.
  6. Spread or pipe a little of the Nutella over the base of half the biscuits. Then sandwich the covered biscuits with the non-covered biscuits.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Dip the edge of the biscuits in the chocolate and then dunk the biscuits in a bowl of chopped hazelnuts. Leave on some grease-proof paper to set and repeat with the rest of the biscuits.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies (Vegan)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies (Vegan)

With term almost over it’s time to head back to the land of stocked fridge and rolling fields. Whilst I’m looking forward to having a (bit) of a break, this has been the most amazing 8 weeks. From the people I’ve met to the things I’ve learnt, it’s been a total blast and I can’t wait to come back and so it all over again (after a long rest that is!). Some of the best times I’ve had this term have been our group baking sessions in our college kitchen. Trying to fit more people than can physically fit into a lil’ kitchen, jumping over people to get from the sink to the oven and then everyone eating whatever’s made in minutes.

Of course the down side of cooking at uni is the lack of equipment, ingredients and space. For example these were made with only half the ingredients we probably needed and when freezing the pinwheel log before cutting it into slices I had to wedge it into the jam-packed freezer, hence the slightly squashed shape. However, even with the set backs these turned out super tasty and were so fun to make, so I guess the main thing I’ve learnt from student cooking so far is just to make use of what you’ve got to hand and it’ll most likely turn out fine!

You can also play around with the two flavours in these as much as you like which is fun. I went for chocolate and peanut butter as they’re relatively cheap and taste hella good together. But you could try other combos like chocolate and vanilla, lemon and strawberry, or orange and almond. The key to get these looking good is to make sure that the two doughs have different enough colours to stand out against each other and to make sure you get a tight roll when you roll the wheels up. After that all you’ve got to worry about is getting them to the tin before everyone eats them.

Ingredients

For peanut butter dough

  • 125g Caster sugar
  • 113g Smooth peanut butter
  • A large pinch of Salt
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 215g Plain flour

For the chocolate dough

  • 125g Caster sugar
  • 113g Smooth peanut butter
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 170g Plain flour
  • 45g Cocoa powder

Method

  1. First make the peanut dough. Put the peanut butter and sugar into a large bowl with the vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the water to the mixture and beat in to loosen the mixture a little. Then add the flour and mix everything together until a smooth dough forms.
  3. Use your hands to make the dough into a ball and then wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge until needed.
  4. Now make the chocolate dough. Repeat step 1 with the butter, sugar and so on.
  5. Add the water to the mix and beat to loosen the mixture as you did before. Then add the flour and the cocoa powder to the bowl and mix everything together until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Again, form the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. Leave the two doughs in the fridge for 1-2 hours to harden up slightly.
  7. When ready take the peanut dough out of the fridge. Lay down a sheet of cling film on the work top and then place the dough on top. Lay out another sheet of cling film over the dough. Then take a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a oblong about 20cm x 40cm.
  8. Repeat with the chocolate dough so you have two rectangles of a similar shape.
  9. Take the top layer of the clingfilm off the two doughs. Then turn the chocolate dough over onto the peanut dough and take off the clingfilm sheet which will now be on the top.
  10. Carefully roll the sheet up into a pinwheel, working from short edge to short edge. It can help here to roll over a 1cm bit at the start to begin your spiral and then work from there.
  11. Wrap the log in clingfilm and then freeze for 1-2 hours to make it easier to cut later.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  13. Take the pinwheel log out of the freezer and place it on a chopping board. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into 1cm discs. Place each cookie on the lined baking trays.
  14. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes until slightly golden brown and crispy. Leave to cool before eating!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I made this way way back in the summer when I was in Canada and obsessed with making cookies, but I’ve waited until now to post this one as I think it’s perfect for bonfire night. You know that time when you’re waiting to head out into the cold night, but decide to have one last hot chocolate before bracing the frost? This is what that’s for. (I know today’s Halloween but I’m looking ahead so bare with). Anyway, way back when I was rummaging through the pans of the house we were staying in I found this gorgeous skillet pan right at the back, and I knew right away that I was gonna make one of these giant cookies. Iron skillet pans like this are so useful as they’re perfect for getting the ultimate cook on a fillet steak, making tart tatins, and of course making giant cookies like this! Admittedly I don’t have one myself (yet), but If you haven’t got an iron skillet pan like this I’d really recommend getting one.

The best way to serve these is with a big dollop of ice cream in the middle and then just let everyone dive in. Make it into a big sharing, sociable dessert type thing. Alternatively if you don’t like to share you can make one and eat it all yourself – I won’t judge. Another great thing with cookies like this is that you can customise to your hearts content! Try adding fruit, nuts, spices and other kinds of chocolate to make it super tasty!

Recipe

Serves 8

Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking time

Ingredients

• 150g Unsalted Butter
• 75g Light brown sugar
• 125g Granulated sugar
• 1 Large egg
• 1 tsp Vanilla extract
• 150g Plain flour
• ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
• 1/2 tsp Salt
• 75g Milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
• 75g Dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Mix the butter and sugars together in a bowl with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix to combine. Then add the flour, bicarb, salt and chopped chocolate and mix together to form a smooth dough.
  3. Take a 10 inch skillet pan and press the dough into it. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t quite fill the whole skillet as it’ll spread and rise as it bakes.
  4. Bake the whole thing in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes so that it solidifies slightly, before serving it with lots of vanilla icecream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

During my time in Canada this summer I was surprised to find myself being more sociable than I’d ever been in my 19 years living in the UK. As my sister used to live out there she had loads of people to catch up with, and as all of them were so lovely and hospitable we were invited to more BBQs and picnics than I can count! It was so amazing to be in a culture where everyone is so welcoming. Maybe it’s because I’m English, or maybe it’s because I’m more specifically a Southerner, but until then I’d never experienced so many strangers being so hospitable and kind to me. A few plates of ribs, wings and chicken breasts and it felt like you were slipping into a community you were already apart of, sitting around with friends you’d known for years.

On the evening’s we were lucky enough to have a BBQ to go to we’d always take some food to add to the table, and being a keen baker it was often a dessert that I contributed. I made these particular bad boys to take to a BBQ at my sister’s old work friends Bonnie and Wanda’s house. They were super quick to make, really easy to transport and perfect for sharing as we could cut them up into as many pieces as we needed. For these I made my own caramel because I happened to have to ingredients for it lying around, but you could use a pre-made caramel to make these super easy!

Recipe

Makes 16 squares

Time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time

Ingredients

For the caramel

  • 125g Light brown sugar
  • 350ml Double cream
  • 50g Unsalted butter

For the cookie dough

  • 300g Plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 180g Unsalted butter, melted
  • 130g Light brown sugar
  • 100g Granulated sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100g Milk chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 100g Dark chocolate, chopped roughly

Method

  1. Begin by making the caramel. Put the butter, sugar and half the cream into a pan and bring to the boil whilst stirring. Leave to boil for 5 minutes, until starting to thicken and turning golden, and then take off the heat. Stir in the rest of the cream and set aside to cool until needed later.
  2. Preheat oven to 170˚C and then line an 19x19cm square tin with baking paper.
  3. In a bowl whisk together flour, salt and bicarb.
  4. In another bowl mix together the melted butter and the sugars. Then add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing as you do, and then the chopped chocolate. Mix together until combined.
  6. Divide the dough into two and put half the cookie dough in the lined tin. Smooth over with a spatula to make an even layer.
  7. Pour the cooled caramel over the cookie layer. Then spread the rest of the cookie dough over the top. (Spooning it on first can help here as the caramel will make it hard to spread out. If you can’t cover all the caramel don’t worry as they dough will spread itself out during baking).
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges have started to crisp. Leave to cool and then cut into 16 bars.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x