Cook this: ANZAC cookies

If you’re an Aussie or a Kiwi, you’re getting ready to deal with two days of work before the ANZAC Day public holiday on Wednesday. To make tomorrow go a little faster, make yourself a batch of these tonight after work – the sugar will pull you through Tuesday!

ANZAC Day isn’t all about a day off work, though. It’s a day for us to pay homage to those who were brave and selfless enough to give their lives so that we could contribute to live ours. And it might sound a bit lame, but I really do think about that every time I make these cookies. They’re super easy to make, and came to be when the mums and wives of the fighting troops wanted to send something over that wouldn’t spoil – they came up with these cookies, made from cheap ingredients that keep well for a while. That doesn’t matter anymore, because it’s impossible to keep a batch of these for more than 3 days without eating them all.

Ingredients:
• 1¼ cups plain flour, sifted
• 1½ cups rolled oats
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ¾ cup shredded coconut
• 2 tbsp golden syrup
• 150g butter
• 1 tsp baking powder

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F and line two oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and coconut, and set aside.

3. Melt the golden syrup and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then set aside.

4. In a small bowl, stir the baking powder in with 2 tbsp water, then stir into the melted butter mixture.

5. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.

6. Drop tablespoons of cookie dough onto the prepared baking trays with a bit of space between, and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden and just set for a softer cookie, or 15 – 18 minutes for a crunchier one. Cool for 5 minutes on tray before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 


This recipe is one of my all-time favourites, and it has a spot  in my cookbook, along with another 60-odd favourites! If you’d like to get your paws on a copy (with a fancy new cover), prices start from just $9.99 – click on through to get shopping 🙂

Oktoberfest V.3 – Cook this: Nussecken (German nut biscuits)

If this was our third annual Oktoberfest, does that mean it’s now officially a tradition? I really hope so, because a night of pretzels, meat and friends is a pretty good night!


And of course, dessert. My main department. For Oktoberfest 2014, I did black forest cookies. For Oktoberfest 2015, it was chocolate pretzels. I needed something different this year, and good old Google gave me a hand, fielding my “German desserts” queries. I finally came across Nussecken, a German biscuit that has a shortbready biscuit layer (yum), an apricot jam layer (my favourite jam, double yum), a hazelnut layer (yup), and finally dipped in dark chocolate (yes, please). It was the obvious choice.


It wasn’t as easy to find what looked like a good recipe for them, so more Google enquiries ensued, and The Frugal Chef came to the rescue with her recipe, which you can find right here. Don’t be scared by the multiple layers – it’s actually a pretty easy recipe to follow, and for this reason, I haven’t messed around with it like I usually would! I also didn’t want to bother copying and pasting the recipe I used, so I drew it up for you instead 🙂


I’ll also leave you with some photos of my Nussecken, and some of the other goodies we had…


Does anyone else do an annual Oktoberfest celebration with friends? Or any other annual party? You should, it’s really fun, especially when everyone gets dressed up and are happy to stuff themselves silly with food!

Cook this: 6 ingredient jam thumbprint cookies

Having grown up in a very Italian family, I love roasted chestnuts in winter. Nonno used to make them for us when we were kids, and I loved sitting at their dinner table, digging my little fingers in the split in the shell, peeling the charred layed off those golden little nuggets, and eating them until dad said I couldn’t have any more because I’d be sick. So, when I found St Dalfour at the Good Food and Wine Show a few weeks ago selling chestnut jam, I got more than a little bit excited. I only bought one jar, and have been kicking myself ever since!


I’ve been using a spoonful of it to mix through my porridge, along with a handful of blueberries and a sprinkle of cacao nibs, but I wanted to make something sweet to eat with a cup of tea as it gets colder. I also wanted something quick and easy, that I could make whenever I wanted them without having to get changed out of my PJs to go buy ingredients for. Same base recipe as the lemon cookies I posted a few weeks ago, but the secret ingredient is absolutely the jam – find a way to get your hands on some!!

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 100g caster sugar
– 1 egg yolk
– 200g plain flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– St Dalfour chestnut jam!

 

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 170° and line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, followed by the egg yolk until completely smooth and combined.

3. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined.

4. Roll the dough into balls (about tablespoon size works well) and space them out on the oven tray.

5. As the recipe might imply, press your thumb into the centre of each cookie to make space for the jam, and drop a little jam in each thumbprint.

6. Bake for 15min, or until golden brown.

Cook this: Lemon, almond & coconut cookies

I made a batch of these guys last week to take into work, because I work with really lovely people and I love baking for them! I wasn’t sure how well they’d go down – lemon, almond and coconut in cookies? Most people prefer chocolate chips… but they were a surprise hit, were finished the same day they were brought it, and the recipe was requested by a few of the girls.


I made another batch a few days later, because I was kicking myself for not keeping any at home, and figured I should probably record this recipe for later use. Not that you really need a recipe – it’s pretty simple!

 

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp lemon OR almond liqueur, OR ½ tbsp lemon juice + ½ tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Handful almonds, crushed
½ cup shredded coconut
Zest of 1 lemon

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170° and line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.

3. Beat in the egg and the lemon liqueur/lemon juice + vanilla extract.

4. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.

5. Roll into balls and place on the oven tray, bake for 15min, or until golden brown.

 

Cook this: Walnut & cranberry stuffed shortcrust cookies

I saw this recipe on Sawsan’s site, Chef In Disguise, not long ago and saved the recipe instantly; the sound of a walnut stuffed shortcrust cookie sounded incredible, and her photos were mouth watering! I decided to put my own spin on it because
a) I really can’t stomach cinnamon, and
b) I love the walnut/dried cranberry combination.

You can find Sawsan’s original and more Middle Eastern recipe on her site, but here’s how I made it a bit more “me”  : )

Ingredients:
– 1.5 cups plain flour
– pinch of salt
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– 100g cold butter
– ½ cup lukewarm milk
– ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
– ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped

Method:
1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl, rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs.

2. Gradually add the milk while kneading to a smooth, soft dough – you may not need all of the milk, so only add it bit by bit.

3. Cover the dough and set aside for 30 – 60 minutes (I went with around 45min).

4. When the dough has been rested long enough, grab tablespoon sized chunks off the ball of dough and and spoon a bit of the mixed walnuts and cranberries into it. Mould the dough around the filling and gently roll it into a ball. Place cookies on an oven tray as you go.

5. Rest the cookies for a further 10 minutes, and pre-heat the oven to 180°C. After the second lot of resting, bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden.

 

The base dough for these cookies is absolutely phenomenal, and one I will be using a LOT now! It’s so simple and soft, and I think quite versatile. You can also obviously fill these cookies with anything you want – I’m thinking of trying one with citrus zest in the cookie dough next time… The other great thing is that they are SO easy to make, and require very few ingredients, all of which are usually kitchen staples. Given that it is Monday, you might want to throw a batch together after work this afternoon!