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57 items found for "Christmas"

  • Chocolate and Christmas Spice Cookies

    Still on our baking kick with my sister, we were playing with more Christmas cookie ideas. We decided to play around with the flavouring of sugar cookies, adding some cocoa and some Christmas (in the picture above, Little Bit tried out his Christmas profiled roller - repeatedly so the shapes

  • Basler Christmas Cookies: Revisited

    I first tried making these for myself last year, but as they are traditional here, I grew up eating them at this time of year, and they are a mark of the season. This year, I made them almost by accident. I was planning on making other cookies, but stumbled on these, and figured "Why not?" I followed a very similar recipe to last year but decided to play around with it a little and tweak it in places. Here is the updated version. Ingredients: 2 c ground almonds 3/4 c sugar 1 tbsp cocoa powder 2 tbsp flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp cloves 2 egg whites, lightly beaten 150 g dark chocolate 1 1/2 tbsp dark rum 1 tbsp cream 1 tsp dried orange peel, crushed 1) Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl then stir in the egg whites. 2) Melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie and stir in the rum. Heat it and mix until they form a smooth mass. Add the cream and remove it from the heat. 3) Stir the chocolate into the almond mixture, then roll out on a sugared surface to 1 cm thickness. Cut into different shapes using a cookie cutter. 4) (Optional - allow to dry out for 5 hours or overnight). 5) Bake for 4 minutes at 240°C. Cool on a wire rack. This year's tweaks worked very nicely, adding a bit of a twist to old favourites. I would have used orange zest, but our last orange went into my Rabbit Stew the other day, and so was not available. I only had tangerines on hand for fresh citrus and didn't think the zest particularly worth it from that quarter, so used some of my dried orange peel instead. The dried peel didn't give as much flavour as the fresh zest would have done, so I would like to try this again with fresh zest instead. The rum worked well instead of kirsch but I didn't have much doubt about that. I tested the method of leaving the cookies to dry for several hours before baking. The batch which was cooked fresh and moist, as it were, had a fuller, more vibrant and complex flavour, but they were too soft. The ones left to dry had a more satisfying texture, but the flavours weren't as pronounced or as nuanced. Which is better, therefore, remains a bit of a toss-up. Maybe I need to make a new batch and leave them less long so they are in between? Also, beware that they are baking at a very high temperature for a very short time, so keep an eye on the time and don't let them go too long or they will be over-crisped! Last year, the initial assessment was that they were better hot and straight out of the oven than an hour later once they had cooled. Having one a day later though. I had to reconsider. They were even better a day old. The flavours had had a chance to meld, as it were. This held true this year too. Book Pairing: While baking these, I started listening to Pride and Prejudice. Reading or listening to it again is a pleasure I have given myself every year or two for the last decade or so. I initially didn't want to read it as my parents had listened to an audio version of Sense and Sensibility on a car trip when I was too young to appreciate it but old enough to use the experience to write off an author's entire collection. My sister finally convinced me to give P&P a chance when I was about 15 and read it aloud to me, and I have loved Austen since! This time was no different. The only difficulty with audio versions is finding a reader to do it justice! If only a certain someone would make up their mind to record a reading of it for me...

  • Christmas Butter Balls

    On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten Christmas Butter Balls, nine Greek Apple Cookies , eight Cinnamon Stars, seven Basler Christmas Cookies, six Pumpkin and Pineapple Cookes, five Chestnut Cookies and a freshly baked Ginger Snap Trouvez la version française en commentaire These have been Christmas They come out at Christmas time and no other. are all together, Covid quarantining being over, it was time to get back on track for the 12 days of Christmas

  • Christmas Cinnamon Stars

    On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight cinnamon stars, seven Basler Christmas three peppermint macaroons, two orange date cookies and a freshly baked ginger snap As with the Basler Christmas Cookies on Day 7, these are a Christmas cookie that are traditional locally so I grew up with them,

  • Basler Christmas Cookies

    On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven Basler Christmas Cookies, six Pumpkin They are ubiquitous at this time of year and taste like Christmas to me as much as the ones I grew up I therefore thought it only appropriate that they should make it into the 12 days of Christmas cookies

  • Wax-less Christmas Cookies

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve Wax-less Cookies, eleven Almond Crescents , ten Christmas Butter Balls, nine Greek Apple Cookies, eight Cinnamon Stars, seven Basler Christmas three Peppermint Macaroons, two Orange Date Cookies and a freshly baked Ginger Snap The last day of Christmas ginger snaps on Day 1, and the butter balls and almond crescents on days 10 and 11 were traditional Christmas cookies in my family, these, with a couple of modifications, are from my husband's family Christmases

  • Cinnamon and Sahlep Macarons

    Having decided a while back to start experimenting with using sahlep, I started playing around with different flavour combinations and potential recipes in which to try it out (like my Sahlep Pancakes, or my Sahlep Custard). A particularly good flavour to match with sahlep, in my opinion, is cinnamon, so while I do have other flavour combinations in mind to try, many of my ideas pair up sahlep and cinnamon. I am not sure where the idea of trying macarons came from, but it has been kind of present in the back of my mind for months. Sahlep is a hot drink made from ground orchid tubers in warm milk, often with cinnamon too. It has been drunk since Roman times at least, and Paracelsus even wrote about it, considering it to be a strong aphrodisiac. I have no knowledge of any such properties but have always really enjoyed it as a special treat. Today it is still drunk across Turkey and Greece. Sometimes it comes in the form of pure orchid root, and sometimes it is mixed with powdered milk. It is the latter variety that I am able to find here. I tried a first iteration of this recipe with my sister when she was visiting after Littler Bit's birth, and we were delighted with it. The recipe seemed good, but our macarons fell down on execution. It was her first-ever try at making macarons and my second, so seeing as they are notoriously difficult, I don't feel too bad about it. They were tasty but came out flat and gooey inside, and had to be scraped from the silicone baking mat. We figured we had either over-beaten the egg whites or under-baked the cookies. In that first iteration, I also trialled using a small amount of cooled sahlep cooked in milk in the buttercream filling to give the sahlep flavour, but found that the filling was too goopy and didn't come out right. For this next trial, therefore, I tried making sahlep butter ahead of time, allowing it to cool, then softening it to make the buttercream filling. This time, while my execution is still not perfect, it is getting better, and the finished product is not too far off the mark, and oh so good! Recipe Cook time: 1.5 hours -- Portions: 20 cookies -- Difficulty: Medium/hard Ingredients: For the cookie portion: 3 egg whites a pinch of salt 1 c ground almonds - blitz finer if need be. Must be very fine! 1/2 c maple or light brown sugar 2 - 2 1/2 tsp (generous!) of cinnamon For the buttercream filling: 1/3c butter 2 1/2 tsp sahlep 1/3 c maple powdered sugar (or you can use light brown sugar, but blitz it so the granules don't crunch!) 1) For the buttercream filling, melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the sahlep and cook for a few minutes, stirring to incorporate. Cool completely and set aside. 2) Place egg whites and salt in a very clean, dry bowl. Whisk until you achieve a thick foam - just shy of soft peaks. Add the maple or brown sugar and beat until you achieved a thick, stiff consistency. 3) In a separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar, ground almonds, and cinnamon. Fold into egg whites. 4) Pipe in circles 2.5 - 4 cm in diameter onto baking paper, and place on a double baking sheet. Bake at 160°C for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 5) In the meantime, back to the buttercream. Cream sugar into sahlep butter. Spread or pipe on one-half of the macarons, and then sandwich with a second one. Enjoy! I am very pleased with these! I wasn't at all sure how the sahlep butter would go, and I am very pleased with how it worked out. I have never used sahlep raw and so wasn't sure how it would go if I just added it cold (although apparently it can be consumed raw and is used as an ingredient in things like ice cream which aren't cooked - by the by, that is an excellent idea. Sahlep ice cream!). I do think that the sahlep flavour was a little strong in the final butter ( I thought the opposite was more likely to be the case), so I would reduce it to 1 1/2 to 2 tsp of sahlep for the butter next time. I would also increase the cinnamon content a little, maybe to a full (generous) tbsp rather than sticking with tsp measures. Aside from that though, I am very happy! The larger ones collapsed a little at the end of baking, and I am not sure why. My technique still needs some practice. They still weren't flat though, or too gooey in the centre, so I am not going to quibble. They could just have been a little taller and firmer. They also had a little border... I have seen quite different cooking times in other recipes, from 7 to 25 minutes, so I'm not sure if maybe I should be leaving them in for longer. Maybe my batter wasn't firm enough? Hard to tell. I was just so wary of over-beating like last time... More experimentation and trial are still necessary in this particular domain! Little Bit and Hubby definitely didn't mind. They very happily dug in and hoovered up a bunch before supper. ("Mama, I want a macaron. I am going to steal one. Not waiting until it's cool!" on repeat from a certain someone....) The base recipe for this, before much alteration, came from Michel Roux's Eggs. It is, surprisingly for being centred on one simple ingredient, an excellent cookbook. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • Greek Apple Cookies

    On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine Greek Apple Cookies, eight Cinnamon Stars , seven Basler Christmas Cookies, six Pumpkin and Pineapple Cookes, five Chestnut Rings, four Poppyseed Peppermint Macaroons, two Orange Date Cookies and a freshly baked Ginger Snap For the ninth day of Christmas

  • Pumpkin Pineapple Cookies

    On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six Pumpkin Pineapple Cookies, five Chestnut Rings This is the first time I tried these cookies, but I got the recipe from my sister, for whom they are a Christmas

  • Ginger Snaps

    On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me freshly a baked ginger snap The first of this year's Christmas cookies! Ginger snaps are on of the traditional Christmas cookies that I grew up with. The smell of ginger snaps baking is so reminiscent of Christmas time for me, and of baking as a family Stay tuned for the next 11 days of Christmas cookies!

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