Tag Archives: biscuits

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

I thought that after exams I would have tons of time to bake but I seem to have found a million and one other things to fill up my time with and I still have lots to tick off my list! I’m pretty happy right now, for those of you that don’t know, I recently found out I passed medical school and I am finally a doctor! It is finally time for me to join the real world and stop being an eternal student. To celebrate this and then end of a long 6 years at University my lovely sister sent me an absolutely huge bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and to make it even better it was personalised too! I have included a picture of it at the end of this post. This also means that everything I am baking at the moment involves Dairy Milk, this shortbread being one such example. This shortbread actually includes 3 of my favourite ingredients, hence why I created this recipe, if anyone else loves chocolate, can eat glacé cherries like sweets and loves anything almond flavoured, then this is the recipe for you!

Shortbread

 

To make this chocolate, cherry and almond shortbread you will need (this will make about 15 biscuits):

125g icing sugar
220g plain flour
125g cornflour
225g unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate
100g glace cherries
1tsp Almond Extract
Flaked almonds

Ingredients

 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a large baking tray. Sift the icing sugar, flour and cornflour into a bowl. Add the cubed butter to this and use your fingers to mix it all together, creating something that looks like a crumble topping. Alternatively you can use a food processor for this. Break or cut the chocolate into small chunks and halve the glace cherries. Add the chocolate, cherries and almond extract to the shortbread mix and incorporate well. Now bring the mixture into a dough, it will be crumbly but will come together. Wet your fingers to help you do this if you need to. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently to bring it together. Carefully roll out the do to about 5mm thickness and use a round cutter to cut out discs of shortbread.

Dough

Place these onto the greased baking tray. The biscuits will spread slightly as they cook so make sure there is space in between each of the discs. Sprinkle the biscuits with the flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them and take them out as soon as they start to turn golden brown. Leave them on the baking tray to cool and firm up. Sprinkle the biscuits with caster sugar before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can enjoy!

Biscuits

 

Lottie xx

And here is the amazing bar of chocolate I was talking about!

Dr Verrill chocolate

 

Edit:

I have entered these into November’s We Should Cocoa Challenge – the theme is cookies!

This is hosted by BakeNQuilt and Chocolate Log Blog.

we should cocoa

macaroon

Cappuccino Macarons!

Well I did it…..I finally finally finally made Macarons! Those tricky little things! After round 1 I was ready to give them up for good! (I don’t like failing!) But round 2 was a success! Yaaaay!

I used this recipe and technique from Delicious Magazine because it looked pretty easy, surely it wouldn’t go wrong! I don’t have a sugar thermometer so needed a recipe that didn’t involve precisely making a sugar syrup at a certain temperature.
But I was wrong….round 1 produced flat pancake like macarons, that cracked on the top and spread on the baking tray. Fail!
I realised that I had overmixed the mix by adding the flavours and colours at the very end and then mixing them in. By adding the flavours and colours directly to the whisked egg whites made a much better macaron! I was making 3 different types of macaron so I weighed the egg whites before whisking them so once whisked I could weigh them out into 3 equal portions.

So here is my success with Macarons. For the Cappuccino version (other flavours to come later!):

175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites (approx 110g)
75g caster sugar

Put the icing sugar and the ground almonds into a food processor and blitz to a fine mixture. Sift into a bowl and discard any lumps left in the seive.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. At this stage add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until they form stiff peaks and the mix is thick and glossy. This is done much easier with an electric whisk than a hand whisk. You can test when the egg whites are whisked enough by  briefly holding the bowl upside down (over your head if you dare), the eggs should stay in the bowl. If you are making different flavour macarons then at this point divide the meringue among different bowls.

I then added half a teaspoon vanilla essence to the egg whites and mixed this in. Now it is time to add the sieved almonds and sugar. Gently fold half the mixture into the meringue and mix well, but make sure you don’t overmix. Use a flexible spatula to do this mixing. Once it is all combined add the second half of the mixture and mix until it is shiny and all combined. The mixture shouldn’t be too runny, it should be able to hold its shape and have lots of air still in it, a ribbon like consistency as it falls from the spatula.

Fill a piping bag with the macaron mixture. The piping bag should be fitted with a plain round nozzle, or you can just chop the end off the piping bag about 1cm from the tip.

Pipe the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, into circles of about 3-4cm diameter. I made a template on the computer with circles of 4cm diameter that I put under the greaseproof paper and slid it out once I had finished. Once you have piped your macarons you need to tap / drop the baking trays straight onto a hard surface, this is so the macarons have a nice ‘foot’ when they are baked.

 Leave the macarons for 30 minutes at room temperature to form a skin. This is very important so that they don’t crack during baking. You should be able to lightly touch the macarons without getting it on your finger. Now dust the macarons with a little cocoa powder to give them that cappuccino look.

Bake in a preheated oven at 160 for about 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on them. You don’t want them to discolour but they are ready when they can be lifted off the baking paper. Remove from the oven and cool.

 To make the filling:

I made two fillings, chocolate ganache for the very centre and a coffee buttercream to surround it.

For the chocolate ganache (you only need a tiny bit): Use equal amounts of chocolate and double cream (Use 100g chocolate and 100g cream and you can freeze any that might be left).

Heat the cream gently in a pan and then add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. This should be made in advance so that you can leave the ganache in the fridge for a few hours to set.

For the coffee buttercream:

140g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
coffee granules and hot water

Beat the butter until it is soft and then beat in the icing sugar half at a time. Add 1-2 tsp of coffee granules (you can change this depending on how strong you want your icing) to a cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water. Mix to make a paste. Add to the buttericing and mix well.

Put the set ganache into a piping bag and the coffee buttercream into another. Pair up the macarons into matching pairs and pipe once half of each pair with a little ganache and a ring of buttercream. Sandwich together and you are done!  Well done!

 

 

 

Good luck with your own Macarons!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

Please follow me on Twitter @lotts_louise

If you have read my blog then please leave a comment, it is easy to do and I appreciate every comment I get!

 

 

jammy biscuit hearts

Jammy Biscuit Hearts

These jammy hearts were something I made for a Valentine’s present for my boyfriend this year. Although they weren’t much of a surprise as he watched me make them, but he took them to work to spread the love on Valentine’s Day. They are easy to make, look good and are a bit like jammy dodgers, so if you like them then these are the biscuit for you to try. And there is no need for them to just be hearts, you could try any shape and try different jams too. I think they would work equally well with a nutella filling if you are nutella lover. Or lemon curd if you are a lover of lemon.

You will need: (based on this recipe from Waitrose)

140g plain flour
100g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

50g butter
80g icing sugar
Jam of your choice (I used raspberry)

To make the biscuits start by mixing the flour and butter until they resemble breadcrumbs. You can do this with your fingers or in a food processor. Add the icing sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and mix together to form a dough. Chill the dough for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a baking sheet. Thinly roll out the dough and cut out the hearts. To make the top hearts you need to cut a smaller heart inside the larger heart. I used a cookie cutter to cut out the large heart shape but just used a knife for the inside shape. You need to cut a top and a bottom biscuit for every biscuit you are going to make. This recipe makes about 12.

Cut dough

Place the biscuits on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Be careful because the dough is thin so  they will cook really quickly and you want them to be quite a pale colour.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. After cooking the biscuits will all be slightly different shapes so pair up the top and bottom biscuits that fit together best!

Meanwhile make the buttercream for the filling. Mix the butter and icing sugar together with 1tsp boiling water. Once the biscuits are completely cool you can spread a little buttercream on each of the biscuits for the bottom. Then spread a little jam on top of the buttercream in the middle of each of these biscuits. Now sandwich the top and bottom biscuits together. There should be a lovely read jammy heart in the middle of each biscuit.

Lottie xx (follow me on twitter @lotts_louise)

This post is entered into Tea Time Treats hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is Romance!

Lebkuchen

Christmas started in our little flat this weekend and now the tree is up and looking beautiful. This also meant it was time to start Christmas Baking! I love the fact that December can mean a whole month of baking lots of lovely christmassy treats. And first up was Lebkuchen, a traditional German Christmas treat, a little bit like gingerbread. Yes, I do love Germany. One of my friends text me this weekend to say she was in Berlin, I got a little jealous! However I took a trip to Hobbycraft this weekend, so that made up for it! I bought a new heart shaped cookie cutter, so my Lebkuchen are love hearts!

Lebkuchen

What you need: (recipe from BBC good food)

Ingredients

250g plain flour
85g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch each ground cloves , grated nutmeg and black pepper
200ml honey
85g butter
zest of 1 lemon

100g icing sugar
1 egg white , beaten
3 tbsp lemon juice

Honey and butter

Melt the butter with the honey in a pan. Once it is melted add all the dry ingredients and the lemon zest and mix well. Put the mixture into a food bag to cool and put it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. It should solidify into more of a cookie dough consistency. Once the dough is fully cooled you can roll it out. This is best done between two pieces of cling film, until the dough is about 5mm thick.

Roll out the dough

Use a cutter to cut the dough into the shape you want and put them onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Bake in them in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes.

Dough hearts

Biscuits

Leave the biscuits to cool on a baking tray. Once cool you can dip them in the icing. To make the icing mix the icing sugar with the egg white and lemon juice until smooth. Dip each biscuit into the icing and leave it to set. You can also dip them into chocolate instead of icing if you prefer. I finished mine off with a sprinkle of glitter dust (just because it is new!).

Iced hearts

Lebkuchen eaten

I’m entering these into Tea Time treats hosted by Kate at What Kate Baked and Karen at Lavender and Lovage!

Tea time treats

Lottie xx