Muesli Rusks

Muesli RusksThere is nothing like some rusks with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and I always feel a little better having rusks with a bit of healthy muesli and seeds. For anyone who doesn’t know what rusks are, they are sort of bigger versions of biscotti, but they are not quite as sweet. They are made for dunking in a cup of tea or coffee and were actually started by being a way to preserve bread in the hot climate of South Africa. Give the recipe a go, it’s really easy and completely worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 500g Butter, melted
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 cups muesli
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Add the buttermilk, vanilla essence and melted butter to the eggs and sugar mixture and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl add all the dry ingredients (including all the seeds and raisins) and mix together well.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients and mix. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish with deep sides (about 5cm) and cook for +-45 minutes at 180°C
  7. Once cooked, take the pan out of the oven and turn the oven heat down to 75°C.
  8. Cut in half whilst in the pan.
  9. Lay a bread board over top of both halves and flip so that you have it right side up.
  10. Using a finely serrated knife, cut into the hardening crust just to break the crust. Cut strips about 1 inch wide.
  11. Using a smooth, sharp knife, cut right through following the tracks of the serrated knife.
  12. Cut the cross strips in the same way and place the rusks with space between them into 2 baking sheets.
  13. Dry rusks out for about 4-5 hours in the oven (you may need to do a few batches to get them all done.

Source

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Chocolate Coconut Biscuits (also known as Romany Creams)

In South Africa we have these delicious biscuits called Romany Creams. They are all coconut chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with  more chocolate. This is a homemade version, which of course is never the same as the real thing, but I think these are better!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 250g butter
  • vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt
  • 1½ cups coconut
  • 1 cup of melted chocolate

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • Cream together the softened butter and sugar
  • Add to flour mixture (flour, baking powder, salt and coconut and cocoa)
  • Mix in boiling water and add vanilla essence
  • Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto a greased baking tray
  • Bake at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes
  • Let the biscuits cool and then melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a pot of boiling water
  • Sandwich together the biscuits with melted chocolate

Recipe source

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Valentines Heart Biscuits

Valentines Jam BiscuitsThis recipe is one that I found for Xmas biscuits, but I was inspired to change the cookie cutter and make them for Valentines day.

Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter , softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g strawberry or raspberry jam (about half a jar)

Method

Making the dough

  • Put the butter, sugar, flour and almonds into a food processor and whizz until the mixture just comes together and forms a ball.
  • If making by hand, first beat together the butter and sugar, then add the flour and ground almonds.
  • Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hr.

Making the biscuits

  • Remove the dough from the fridge and knead until it is soft enough to shape and roll.
  • Divide into two even-size balls.
  • Sprinkle a little plain flour over your work surface and roll out one ball of pastry.
  • The dough should be approximately 5mm thick.
  • Using a star heart cutter (about 6cm wide) dipped in a little flour to stop it from sticking, cut out as many star heart shapes as you can.
  • Then lightly knead the dough trimmings together and roll out again.
  • Keep going until you have about 24 hearts.
  • Carefully place the hearts on a baking sheet, making sure you keep them slightly apart.
  • Roll out the second ball of dough the same way.
  • Cut out the same-size stars and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Now cut out a small circle/heart in the centre of each biscuit using a small cookie cutter or the end of a large piping nozzle.
  • Heat oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook the biscuits for 20-30 mins until just golden.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

The finished product

  • Place a blob of jam onto the centre of the biscuits without the cut-out circle.
  • Be generous – you want the jam to show at the edges as well as the centre.
  • Place the top halves of the biscuits on and push down gently.
  • These will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Info (from the original recipe)

141 kcalories, protein 2g, carbohydrate 14g, fat 10 g, saturated fat 5g, fibre 1g, sugar 8g, salt 0.01 g

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I am not a cookie baker, but these looked to yummy to pass up. I just loved the way they look! The recipe is from BBC Good Food. I changed it slightly, and also found that they weren’t crunchy enough, so if you like biscuits that aren’t gooey, you may want to double bake them. 

Ingredients

  • 225g plain chocolate , chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 175g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g icing sugar

Method

  • Heat the oven to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/gas 3.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a small pan of simmering water or in a microwave until smooth. Cool slightly.
  • In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk until pale, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed and add the chocolate mix and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture until blended together.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1½ hours or even up to 2 days.
  • Put the icing sugar in a small bowl.
  • Shape the dough into 4cm balls, flatten and roll in the sugar.
  • Put them on baking sheets lined with baking paper.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes for soft centres and set edges.
  • For more crunchy cookies, turn the heat down a little (to around 140ºC/120ºC fan) and bake for a further 10 minutes. 
  • Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then put on a rack to cool.

Custard and White Chocolate Cookies

I am on a biscuit/cookie thing at the moment. I love all things custard so this was a must do for me! It’s from BBC Good Food

Ingredients

  • 40g butter , softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 85g custard powder
  • 85g white chocolate , chopped into small chunks

Method

  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  • Line 2-3 baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and whizz until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Sift together the flour and custard powder, then tip into the bowl and pulse to mix into a dough.
  • Scrape out the food processor and work the chocolate in by hand.
  • Roll the dough into balls a little smaller than a walnut, then place on the baking sheets, a little apart to allow for spreading.
  • Press each biscuit down lightly with your fingers.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins until lightly golden.
  • Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Featured post

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies

My lovely wife has started a new job, and as part of her endeavor to get to know her colleagues, she’s decide to bribe them. And the best way to bribe them? Cookies! This is a super simple recipe I found  all over the web and simply tweaked it to make it suite me. 

Ingredients

  • 75g dark brown muscavado brown sugar
  • 75g soft butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 100g chocolate chunks/drops

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  • Cream butter and sugar
  • Beat in egg.
  • Stir in flour and chocolate.
  • Place in small spoonfuls on greased/lined baking tray.
  • Bake 180 for 10-15 minutes.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

I’ve been meaning to add this recipe to my blog since its inception, however I just haven’t because it almost seems too simple. But It is delicious. It takes a little prep time, but nowhere near as much as baking bread does, and it is almost impossible to mess up. I also don’t really understand why people don’t make biscotti more often, it is delicious and super simple. The most complicated part is dealing with the doughy mixture and getting it onto the baking tray. Yes, this is another super sticky batter (see last week’s Challah Bread entry), but it is soooo worth it. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup (110 grams) whole almonds
  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (225 grams)  flour
  • 4 ounces (110 grams) chocolate (I use 1/2 chopped cooking chocolate and 1/2 chocolate chips)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC

Preparing the almonds

Toast the almonds for 8-10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. While these are in the oven, coarsely chop the cooking chocolate. Remove from the oven let cool and chop coarsely, then line a baking sheet with parchment.

Making the dough

Beat the sugar, vanilla extract and eggs together for about 5 minutes. The mixture needs to be light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together.

Add the eggs to the flour mixture and beat until combined. I found that this works best if you add the flour a little at a time to the egg mixture and beat with an electric mixer. Then when the mixer threatens to longer work, mix the final bit of flour and mix by hand.

Once all of the flour has been incorporated, carefully fold in the almonds and chocolate, a small amount at a time. It is important to not just dump all the almonds and chocolate in add once because you want to make sure that they are evenly distributed through the Biscotti.

Baking the Biscotti

Transfer the dough to the parchment sheet on your baking tray. You need form a long log as long about 30 cm long and 9 cm wide. This of course can vary based on the size of the biscotti you want. I sometimes like to make 2 long thin logs which make the perfect biscuits to serve with a dainty cup of tea.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm (like cake). Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. See how this works for you, I sometimes find I need to cool it for a little longer to be able to handle it.

Reduce the oven’s heat to 165 ºC.

Once cooled, transfer the biscotti log to a cutting board, replace the parchment on the baking tray and cut the biscotti at 2 cm slices diagonally.

Place the biscotti cut side down in the oven for 20 minutes (at the lower 165 ºC heat) turning half way.

Allow the biscotti to cool completely before serving and store in a cool airtight container, like a biscuit tin.

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Little Biscuit Gems

I discovered these little biscuits Christmas of 2011 at epicurious. I’ve made a few tweaks and updated the recipes here because I need to have a central home for all of my kitchen wonders. These cookies are really yummy and the dough keeps for a few days in the fridge, so you don’t have to spend hours making cookies, you have spread it out over a few days. I also try to be a bit creative with the cookies and made them into various shapes, and various shapes of jam dots with varying success.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (320g) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
  • 230g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • About 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • About 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • About 2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Equipment

  • a 1/2-inch-thick wooden spoon handle or dowel

Make dough:

Whisk together flour and salt. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in 3 and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.

Assemble and bake cookies:

Preheat oven to 180°C with rack in middle. Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 3 separate level teaspoons of dough each into a ball. I found that with the dough being as cold and difficult to manage, it also works to cut the dough into cubes and then roll into little balls. Then flatten each ball slightly (to 1 inch wide and less than 1/2 inch thick). Arrange the three balls in a triangle on baking sheet with edges touching in center, then make a deep indentation in center of each round with wooden spoon handle. Make more cookies, arranging them 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Fill indentations in each cookie with about 1/8 teaspoon jam (each cookie should have 3 different fillings).  Found that if you keep the jam as cold as possible, it’s quite easy to fill the indentations using a 1/4 teaspoon measure, but filling it halfway and then wrangling the jam out into the indentation.

Bake until cookies are baked through and golden-brown on edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. If you move them too soon they just fall apart).

Bake more batches on cooled baking sheets lined with fresh parchment.

Photo from the original epicurious recipe.

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