Category Archives: Recipes – Cookies

Maisy mouse gingerbread cookies


As school’s starting this week, we have been in full back-to-school mode: getting stationary sorted, uniforms ironed, new lunchboxes and water bottles – all sorted. One thing we couldn’t miss out on is preping for snacks for school. I don’t want to do what I did last year – baking too much at a time with the hopes that it will fill up all the lunchboxes for weeks. Turns out banana muffins can get boring pretty quickly, even with chocolate buttons in them (What do you mean you don’t like them any more? They have chocolate chips in them for goodness sake!). They don’t freeze that well and the taste deteriorates the longer they have been frozen.

This year, I’m going to try out a few different ideas for lunch and teas. First off, baking from pre-made, frozen dough.
This is hardly a new idea, just underestimated by me as a true time saver (I find it really hard to hold back and not bake the entire batch sometimes). By doubling the batch and keeping some reserve dough in the freezer, you can always bring it out the night before to let it thaw and very quickly you’ll have a fresh batch of baking for the week. Same idea as mise en place, you will be saving time spent on prep. You can build on your ‘baking bank’ with a variety of recipes and you’ll always have something on hand for parties too.

Here’s our recipe for gingerbread cookies, these have a nice light crunch, no teeth-breaking involved 🙂

Ingredients:
450g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp baking powder
115g melted butter
100g golden syrup
115g muscavado sugar
1.5 size 7 egg, beaten (about 60g)

Method:
Mix the flour, spices, baking powder in a large bowl.
Pour melted butter, syrup and sugar into mix, combine.
Add the eggs and combine.
Tip contents onto a large board, work the dough until everything comes together without being sticky.
Roll out to 3mm thickness and cut into shapes with cutters.

Fan bake for 18 minutes in a preheated oven at 160C, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

Citrus Shortbread biscuits


This week at Sunday School, the kids made little cut outs from carrot slices, using little cookie cutters. It immediately brought me back to my childhood years, where these are almost always found in chinese stir fry dishes in restaurants in Hong Kong. Next moment I get a flash back of these wonderful citrusy shortbread biscuits I used to make, using the same cookie cutters. This could be among the first few things we learnt to bake at school, perhaps even before we did the good old chocolate chip cookies.

When we got home, I ran to the kitchen and dug through my folder of old recipes to see if I’d brought it to NZ.

There, among other old recipes, is this recipe on letter-sized paper with typewriter-style font. The paper is still impeccably clean, straight and readable.
I said to J: ‘look, this is mummy’s recipes from 20 years ago! It is still perfect!’ she gave me a funny look, like ‘what is 20 years??’. I stopped myself from explaining about ageing, remembering that she had earlier espressed her dislike of growing old.

Just like that, I was brought back to that school kitchen 20 years ago, baking alongside my friends. It warmed my heart to remember that I’ve always loved cooking, with the joys of success in the kitchen not matched or surpassed by many other things (well perhaps a perfectly exposed photo in the dark room in my later years). This isn’t just a hobby, it is what makes me, ME. That’s why a day off at home usually means a baking marathon or culinary challenge. That’s why I record, watch and re-watch episodes of Masterchef Masterclass. That’s why I have an insatiable appetite for cook books, cooking shows, learning new techniques and cooking challenges.

I have just found another piece of the puzzle about who I AM.

citrus shortbread biscuit

Ingredients

250 g butter (firm, straight out from fridge)
350g plain flour
a pinch of salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon or orange or lime
100g caster sugar
Extra caster sugar for dredging

Method

Line two baking sheets with baking paper, preheat the oven to 170°C.

Sift the flour and salt together, then rub in the butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Use a knife to cut further to make it more crumbly. This will take about 10 minutes. It was quite nice feeling the textures come together in my hands, and the memory of doing it the first time is still right there in my head, bringing a smile to my face. I resisted the temptation of getting the processor out.

Add the sugar and zest, then knead the mixture until it binds well together. It will be crumbly at first, but just give it a good knead and it will come together.

Turn this dough onto a lightly floured board and press into a round shape. Roll out to 1cm thick.

These are the cutters I used – 20 years ago!

Cut with cutters, re- roll left overs and cut until the dough’s all been cut.

Prick the shortbread surfaces with a fork.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until surface is golden.

Remove from oven, leaving it to rest on sheets for another few minutes, before transferring carefully to wire racks to cool for a bit.

I also remember dredging them with caster sugar but it isn’t in the original recipe…

I couldn’t resist making little “Thomas” and “Percy” engine-shaped biscuits…the flowers look like the steam clouds! Cute~

Citrus Shortbread

I hope you will enjoy making these as much as I did!

To my friends of class 2X: do you remember these? how long has it been since you made some? Carmen, what about you?

Spiced cookies


In my quest to put together a series of basic recipes, I came upon this cookie recipe from my formative years. It looked simple enough, here I made only one change – using Valrhona cocoa powder instead of ordinary ones. V cocoa is totally irresistible and gives an addictive cocoa aroma not found in others. The difference is entirely noticeable, worth every cent.

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp valrhona cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder

Instructions
Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
Add golden syrup and egg and mix until combined.
Sift in flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon and baking powder.
Mix until the dough comes together.
Roll out on a floured board to about 3mm thick.

Demonstration by J:

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Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes as desired.

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Lift carefully and place on a baking sheet. Don’t eat them yet!!

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Bake at 175 degrees C for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. Quak quak, oink oink, moo moo!

Hazelnut cocoa nibs cookies


Today J helped me with some freezer cookie dough. These are the ones I always have in the freezer, to be whipped out in a second when cookies are called for in short notice.

You can replace the hazelnuts with other nuts you like: pistachios, macadamias or cashews.

Ingredients
1 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup valrhona cocoa powder
2 tbsp Frangelico (hazelnut liquor)

Method

Combine the butter and sugar in bowl of electric mixer, and beat on high for 1 minute until it is smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and frangelico liquor.

Beat in the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa nibs.

Add all the flour and cocoa powder in. Beat on low speed until the flour mixture is well incorporated.

Scoop half of this dough and place onto cling film. Roll into a log and freeze for at least 2 hours before slicing. You can keep this for up to 3 months. Scoop the rest of the dough onto another piece of cling film to form a second log.

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like so…

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough into 0.5cm thick slices.

Place cookies on baking paper-lined cookie sheets.

Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven and let them rest on the sheets for about 1-2 minutes further before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Easiest sugar cookies


I love getting maximum yield out of minimal efforts. The fact that a single batch of cookie dough produces a large amount of little bites that will last our family for a while (er, like 2 weeks) gives me great satisfaction. These are very cute too as gifts at children’s parties.

Ingredients

1 cup (250g) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour (or 2 3/4 cups plain flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder if you want chocolate ones)
2.5 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg, vanilla extract and beat till combined. Add flour (and cocoa powder if using) and baking powder, mix to combine. Roll dough into a smooth rectangular shape, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Taking a third of the dough, roll it out on a floured board to a 0.4mm thickness. Using cookie cutters to cut shapes out as desired. Here J is using some Klio ones. Press the cookie cutter down onto your dough to cut out the shape of the cookie.

See the little stick on the centre of the cutter? It has a spring mechanism and when depressed, will imprint some additional patterns on your cookie.

See how J pushes the stick to help get the dough out of the cookie cutter.

Carefully peel the dough off the cutter.

There you have it! Gather scraps, re-roll and recut until you’ve used up the dough.

Bake at 175 degrees C for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

How cute are they!