Spice Cookies

So… Hey. It’s been, 3 years? since I’ve written a post for this? Crap, that’s no good. Sorry about that. I haven’t really been cooking because my Mum’s really tight with the grocery budget; I’m actually paying for a lot of the ingredients myself now. I’m 19 by the way, in can’t you can’t tell.

Anyway… I found this really interesting cookie recipe in Ottoloenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem. It’s a really beautiful book, if you’ve yet to see it.

I thought it’d be fun to blog my second time making it owing to the fact it was for my Grandma’s birthday, but, I only had half the ingredients on hand and couldn’t be f#*%ed going to the supermarket – Yes. Even for my Grandma…

Since I made a couple substitutions, I’ve included a link to the original recipe as well. It’s got American measurements which may be of help! – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spice-cookies-51115800

If you do make this, let me know. It was a fun challenge which I’m sure you’d enjoy too. You can also make them really cute with glacé cherries, candied peel, crystallised ginger. and since their flavour’s fairly complex, and moreish, you can really steal show at a shared lunch – send your kid along to primary school with this and everyone will think you very posh, even if you do drive that Nissan Tida.

 

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125g of cranberries/sultanas/glacé cherries/apricots…
2 tbsp brandy/bourbon/rum
150g plain flour and 100g ground almonds
1 heaped tbsp cacao powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice/cloves, ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
150g dark chocolate, crushed in blender
125g soft butter/coconut oil – I used 1/3 butter, 2/3 coconut
125g brown/caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp grated lemon/lime peel
½ tsp grated orange/mandarin peel
½ an egg – sorry about this

To finish:

  • Make a glaze with – 3 tbsp lemon juice &160g icing sugar
  • Sprinkle over a tbsp of fine-chopped candied citrus peel, glacé cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Saturate the dried fruit in bourbon for 10 minutes, even overnight. Mix together the dry ingredients (excluding sugar), and dark chocolate in a food processor. Turn out to a bowl.
  2. Process the butter, sugar, vanilla and zest ’til lightly aerated – About 1 minute. With it running, ease in the egg and then the dry ingredients and fruit. Pulse ’til combined.
  3. Turn out to a bowl and roll it to a ball shape. Divide into about 20 balls and handle lightly – I have a lot of practise in this. Set onto a couple trays (greased or lined with paper), spacing widely apart.
  4. Bake for between 12-20 minutes – until the top firms up but the centre’s still a little soft. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks and drizzle over the glaze while still warm – coating the biscuit with a thin, translucent layer. Decorate with of candied peel and either serve or leave in the fridge. They’re best within 5 days.

 

Need a gluten-free alternative? My Grandma has Coeliacs, so for hers, instead of flour, I used 250g of almonds – ground in a food processor. You then make it the same, except line a cake tin instead and firmly press the dough into it. Bake for 12-20 mins – still slightly soft in the centre – glaze and drizzle more bourbon over the top.

Alternatively, you could use almond or gluten free flour – though you may have to play around with the ingredients to disguise the rice flavour, e.g. adding more butter.

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Step by step

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  • Grated whole nutmeg – Mind your fingers! I nearly lost one

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  • Crushing the chocolate

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Rock Drops!

Hi there everyone! I hope you’ve been having a brilliant week since my last post and have been jumping up and down in excitement for my next one. This week I’m covering rock drops. These make for a lovely and delightfully simple bit of baking. They’re also quick to make and are easy enough that you can make them with small children in tow. They are also something that you might not have heard of before. Think scones but crumbly like biscuits and moist like cake. I can’t really think of a better way to describe them to be honest. They’re really nice though and are more than ideal for trick or treat day in the office when it’s your turn to bring in something yummy or maybe for a picnic or an afternoon snack. Whatever time or place takes your fancy.

Note – The last time I made these I was halfway through making them before I realised that I hadn’t any demerara sugar on hand and had to use brown sugar instead. They turned out fine. If you don’t have any demerara in your pantry then just use what you do have.

Recipe – Rock Drops

Ingredients –
100g of butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
200g of plain flour
2 tsp of baking powder
75g of demerara sugar (brown sugar will work as well)
100g of sultanas, or other dried fruit
30g of finely sliced glace cherries
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp of milk

Method –
Pre-heat your oven to 200C or 392F. Lightly grease a baking tray with a little butter.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with you fingertips until the mixture becomes crumbly and fine. Stir in the sugar (just use your hands), sultanas or other fruit and the cherries. Also mix in the beaten egg and milk and bring together to form a soft dough.
Spoon nine rough balls of the mixture onto your tray and flatten them a bit with your palm. Maybe also roughen them up a little as well. Remember to allow room between them for expansion while cooking.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, or until firm to the touch, like with scones. But softer. Remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack or serve piping hot, accompanied with an ample amount of soft butter and perhaps jam, but they’re so delicious that they don’t need anything anyway. Enjoy.
Recipe from the about sean’s food blog and sourced from the Cakes & Bakes cookery book. Published by the Love Food Company.