Rainbow Slices

Rainbow Sponge Sandwich

Wotchers!

Here’s a colourful idea that looks fantastic, and is a doddle to make.

It’s a Lego™ recipe in that I’ve taken a bit from here and a bit from there and smooshed (that’s definitely a word, right?) them together to make me the hero of the school lunch box. Based on the resounding cries of delight they elicited, I decided to use my superpowers for good and share, so you all can be heroes too.

I used the Cream Cakes recipe as a sheet cake, dividing the batter and flavouring half with vanilla and half with raspberry, adding a little food colouring to the raspberry half. Then I made some rice-krispie treats using Rainbow Drops (found in the sweetie aisle), and pressed them into a flat layer one ‘drop’ thick. Cut in half, I then used them, whilst warm, to sandwich the sponge cake. A light pressing while cooling, or afterwards in the fridge and it’s possible to get a fantastically crisp cut through the two contrasting textures.

If they’re still sticky when cool, you can either press on more Rainbow Drops or wrap in rice paper, which is also fun to eat when peeled off, or indeed munched on in situ.

Rainbow Slices

I used raspberry and vanilla for the marbled cake, but you can use any combination you like, or even just go with the one colour/flavour for simplicity.

For the cake

150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125ml cream – double or clotted
150g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
a few drops of raspberry flavouring
burgundy/claret food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.
  • Grease and line a shallow baking tin of approx 20cm x 30cm with parchment.
  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat with a balloon whisk (or by hand or stand mixer) until the eggs are frothy and the sugar dissolved – about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and whisk in.
  • Divide the mixture into two and add the colouring and flavourings to the respective halves
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together then divide into two and fold half into each batch of cake mixture.
  • Drop blobs of the cake mixture into the prepared tin until the tin has an even layer of cake mixture.
  • Swirl the colours together if liked.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and slightly shrunken from the edges of the tin.
  • Lay a clean cloth over a wire rack and turn out the cake onto the cloth. Set aside to cool.

For the Rainbow Slices

50g butter
150g marshmallows
200g Rainbow Drops + a few more just in case

butter/spray for moulding

rice paper (optional)

  • Lightly grease or butter a silpat sheet on which to mould your Rainbow Slices.
  • Melt the butter in a pan then add the marshmallows and stir over a medium heat until melted.
  • Cook for a further two minutes, then remove from the heat, add the Rainbow Drops and stir to coat.
  • Tip out onto the greased silpat mat. Lightly grease/butter your hands to prevent sticking and press the coated Rainbow Drops into a flat, even layer about 1cm thick, making sure to fill in any holes. It will make quite a large sheet. Cut the sheet in half.
  • Whilst the Drops sheets are still warm, lay the cake onto one sheet, and lay the second sheet on top of the cake, sandwiching it in-between.
  • Put a sheet of parchment over the top of the cake and rest one or two baking sheets on top, just to press everything together firmly as it cools.
  • When cold, wrap in buttered plastic (or add the rice paper and use regular cling film) and transfer to the fridge to chill thoroughly. Continue to press with weights if necessary.
  • When chilled, use a sharp, serrated knife to first trim the edges neatly to reveal the layers, then cut into serving portions.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits
Wotchers!

These biscuits are my newest favourite, and that is due equally to the texture, the flavour(s) and the potential to vary (infinite).

They are a development of the shortbread-like Viennese Whirls, where inclusion of cornflour makes them delightfully crumbly and moreish.

Whereas Viennese Whirls are piped, these can be rolled between the palms in order to produce interesting swirly patterns as the different doughs are mixed together.

Alternatively, if neatness is important and you have a silicone small-hemisphere baking sheet, you can opt to press a mix of the dough into the holes in the sheet to make domed biscuits.

Another option would be to scatter small lumps of each dough over your work surface,  use a rolling-pin to roll them into a smooth sheet with a marbled effect, and cut out your biscuits with regular cutters.

So the method you choose is whatever suits you. What IS important, is that each biscuit has a mixture of all three doughs, especially if they are also flavoured differently as well as contrasting visually .

If you like things simple, you can go: Very chocolate/mildly chocolate/vanilla – which is lovely, delicious and has widespread crowd appeal.

However, ever the tinkerer, I decided to experiment with some alternative flavour combinations the best of which I am going to share with you now.

  • Very chocolate/mildly chocolate/orange: adding orange zest to the palest dough for a classic combination. Would make great Christmas baking/gifts.
  • Very chocolate/coffee/vanilla: mix it up a little with a little mocha combo, ideal if you don’t want to have to choose between coffee and chocolate.

Both of these combinations I found equally delicious, but the absolute best flavour combination I put together tops all of the above (she says modestly), and it is this:

  • Very chocolate/coffee/cardamom: the richness of the cocoa, the bitterness of the coffee and the heady aroma of cardamom are amazing together.
A gif of Emma stone saying Yum.

Actual footage of my face after sampling the chocolate/coffee/cardamom combination, warm from the oven.

I used to drink coffee Turkish-style, flavoured with cardamom, when I worked in the Gulf, so perhaps I’m a little biased, but I strongly urge you to try this combination for a real, to quote Peter Kay, TASTE SENSATION!

Chocolate Swirl Biscuits

This makes a large quantity of biscuits, so divide the quantities in half if you think they might be too much for you, just don’t blame me when they’re all gone in two days and you’re turning on the oven at 10 o’clock at night to make a new batch.

Whichever flavour combination you choose, use the following. Each amount will flavour 1/3 of the dough quantity below:

  • Dark chocolate: 2tbs cocoa powder
  • Light chocolate: 1tbs cocoa powder, 1tbs flour
  • Coffee: 1tbs espresso powder, 1tbs flour
  • Orange: zest of  orange, 2tbs flour
  • Cardamom: ¾tsp ground cardamom, 2tbs flour
  • vanilla: ½tsp vanilla extract, 2tbs flour

250g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar
125g cornflour
120ml vegetable oil
1tsp baking powder
280g plain flour
2tbs cocoa powder
1tbs espresso coffee powder
¾tsp ground cardamom

  • Remove 3 tablespoons of flour and set aside.
  • Put the butter, icing sugar, cornflour, oil and baking powder into a bowl and mix gently until thoroughly combined.
  • Gradually add the flour until the mixture comes together in a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into three and add the flavourings, using the reserved flour for the two lighter doughs. If using a mixer for this, start with the lightest colour dough and finish with the chocolate, to avoid smudging the colours.
  • Roll each dough into marble-sized balls. Due to the baking powder, they will grow slightly during baking, and with each biscuit being formed from six balls of dough, you want to err on the side of caution, sizewise.
  • Decide on the style of your biscuits:
    • If you’re cutting out your biscuits, scatter the different balls of doughs over your work area, cover with a sheet of clingfilm and roll into a marbled sheet. Use cutters of diameter 5cm.
    • To make the swirled biscuits (top left and bottom right in the pic) arrange two balls of each flavour in a circle either 1,2,3,1,2,3 (top left) or 1,1,2,2,3,3 (bottom right). Gather them together until they form a drum shape (similar to biscuit on the bottom left of the pic), then roll this between your palms, with your hands moving in opposite directions, for 6 or 7 rotations until swirled together. Flatten slightly to finish. NB: I adore the swirl this produces, but a word of advice: if you are a perfectionist, do not choose this method. I made 6 or 7 batches of this dough, experimenting with flavour combinations and wotnot, and I can count the number of perfectly swirled biscuits I managed to create on two hands. I definitely got better with practice, but my husband’s work colleagues had to munch a LOT of biscuits in the process. Which is how the silicone mould method evolved, and beautifully neat and dainty top-right style is now my favourite (as well as being so much quicker).
    • If using a hemisphere mould silicone sheet, proceed as above but instead of rolling the dough between your hands, press it into the mould (bottom left). For the biscuit pictured top right, put the balls of dough in pairs, then arrange them side by side, like the pattern of a six on a dice. Press into the mould.
  • Heat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan.
  • Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets liked with parchment, leaving space between them to allow for spreading.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crisp and slightly risen. NB: If using a silicone mould, the biscuits may take a little longer, as the silicone shields most of the biscuit from the heat. Before removing from the oven, sample a biscuit, break it apart and check that it is cooked all the way through.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Wotchers!

Why, yes! What the world needs now IS another chocolate chip cookie recipe!

I realise there’s already a delicious dairy and gluten-free version on the blog, but my daughter doesn’t care for them much, on the grounds that they are TOO CHOCOLATEY! *eyeroll*

Her main objection is the use of dark chocolate chips and she remains deaf to my efforts to persuade her that the strong dark flavour is a nice contrast to the sweet of the biscuit, and I stubbornly resist using milk-chocolate chips on the grounds that their one-note, sweet-on-sweetness does not offer a very enjoyable biscuit experience.

Which is how we ended up at this attempt to satisfy all tastes and preferences in one, ultimate cookie. I’ve managed to gloss over the inclusion of dark chocolate chips by employing the distraction of CHUNKS of milk chocolate, as well as a few additional flavourings.

These biscuits are nuanced up the wazoo, with flavours complex enough for even the most demanding connoisseur, yet still being acceptable for inclusion in the school lunch box.

Here we have nutty browned butter, rich caramel notes from the brown sugars, a touch of espresso, dark chocolate chips, creamy milk chocolate chunks, all rounded off with just a suspicion of a salty finish.

It’s a combination tweaked within an inch of its life and I defy anyone not to adore them! *throws gauntlet*

This recipe makes about 40 cookies, which means multiple trays (or one tray multiple times, obvs), so even the texture can be varied to suit personal taste. Just remove the tray at a time that suits the texture preferences of your family: 11-12 minutes for chewiness, 14-16 minutes for crispness.

Or ‘accidentally’ leave them in until they’re all crisp, because that’s how you like them.

*poker face* Not that I’d ever do that.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

250g unsalted butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp espresso powder
1 large egg
1 large yolk
280g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g dark chocolate chips
100g good quality milk chocolate, chopped

  • Have a bowl handy to pour the browned butter into. Put the butter into a saucepan over a medium heat and allow to melt. Continue heating the butter and it will start to foam. Use a spatula to keep the milk solids from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the solids have turned a light brown, remove from the heat and pour into your handy bowl. Why? The pan will be very hot and the butter will keep browning unless you pour it from the pan. Don’t wait until it is dark brown, because by the time you get it out of the pan it will be burnt.
  • Set butter aside to cool. This will take at least 30 minutes, and possibly up to an hour.
  • Put the sugars, vanilla and espresso powder into a bowl
  • When the butter has cooled to room temperature, but is still liquid, add it to the sugar mixture and whisk together until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes).
  • Add the egg and yolk and whisk in.
  • Sift together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture in three stages, stirring well after each addition to combine.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped milk chocolate.
  • Divide the dough into balls the size of a walnut (in its shell). A small ice-cream scoop is ideal, as the mixture is very light and soft, otherwise, use teaspoons to shape.
  • Put the dough balls/scoops onto a baking tray, cover with plastic film and chill for at least 1 hour and as much as overnight – whatever is most convenient for you.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
  • Arrange the cookie dough on baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat mats. The dough will spread quite a bit during baking, so if you like your cookies to be round and evenly shaped, don’t crowd too many onto the sheets at once, otherwise they might run together and make odd shapes. 10-12 per tray is ideal.
  • Bake for 12-16 minutes, according to your own personal taste, turning the sheets around half-way through baking, to ensure even baking.
  • Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Lace Biscuits

lace biscuits

Wotchers!

As you will no doubt have noticed, it is Seville orange season, and whilst I am an ardent marmalade maker, I’m also aware that not everyone else is so here is a recipe you can still enjoy their bitter-sweet flavours in less demanding ways.

These lace biscuits are fantastically light and delicate and make a great ‘barely there’ treat. They can also, whilst still warm from the oven, be manipulated into various three-dimensional shapes and forms, which they will hold once cooled. This makes them great for garnishes and flourishes to finish off a special cake or dessert. You can bake circle of batter and make regular, circle-shaped biscuits, or you can pipe/spread the mixture into more organic shapes. They can be draped over rolling pins, crumpled foil, or handles of wooden spoons; pressed into mini muffin tins or over the outsides of cupcake tins to form cups or baskets. You can see a few suggestions in the photograph below.

Lace Biscuit Shapes

You can, of course, make these with other citrus fruits apart from Seville oranges.

You can mix and bake this recipe immediately, but for ease of piping, it is better to chill it in the fridge overnight.

For best results you will need a Silpat silicon mat or similar.

These biscuits will lose their crispness if left uncovered, so be sure to store them in an airtight container.

Lace Biscuits

115g caster sugar
45g plain flour
zest and juice of 1 Seville orange
56g unsalted butter

  • Mix the sugar and flour.
  • Melt the butter, then mix with the orange juice and zest.
  • Pour the butter mixture into the flour and sugar and whisk together until smooth.
  • Cover and chill overnight in the fridge.

When ready to bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag.
  • Pipe the mixture onto your Silpat mat. Make a test batch first, in order to see how much the mixture spreads. As a general rule, a blob of mixture the size of a 10p piece (2cm) should spread to about 5cm in the oven. If your mixture doesn’t spread as much, or isn’t as lacy as you’d like, you can smooth the batter out a little with the back of a spoon.
  • I recommend baking no more than 6 biscuits at a time, which will mean there’s no rush once baked to get them all moulded/folded before they cool.
  • Have ready any utensils/moulds you wish to use to shape the biscuits when they come out of the oven.  If you’re making flat biscuits, they can cool on the mat until firm enough to move to a wire rack.
  • Bake each batch until the edges have turned brown and the middles have just started to colour, as per the above photograph. Allow your test batch to cool to check they crisp up to your satisfaction. If the middles are too pale, then they won’t be crisp once cooled. As a guide, I found that 6 minutes was ideal for my oven/batter. If your orange was either very juicy, or not very juicy, your batter might need a little longer/less.
  • When baked, allow to cool on the mat for about 30 seconds before trying to move them. Too soon and you run the risk of them tearing.
  • When cooled, store in an airtight container.

In case you missed it:

This week on DejaFood.uk: Award-winning marmalade!


Snow Crisp

Snow Crisp

Snow Crisp – dusted with milk powder(L), showing the jewel-like sides of each portion (R)

Wotchers!

Something a little different today, with a recipe that is simple, quick, delicious and easily made gluten-free.

I came across it whilst browsing Chinese language food blogs (see the lengths I go to, to bring you the cutting edge of fashionable recipes??). Anyhoo – this recipe seems to be riding a sizeable wave of popularity, which is understandable for all of the reasons I started with, plus the ease with which it can be customised. I’ve ‘interpreted’ the Chinese name to the most suitable translation, the variations I came across whilst researching being many and varied, e.g. Snowflake Cakes, Snow Puff Pastry, Snow Q Cake, Snowflake Crisp, Dry Snow Cake and my favourites – Reticulated Red Snowflake Pastry, Swept Eat Snowflake Crisp Circle & Delicious Non-Stick Tooth Nougat Failure.

Mmm.

It is like a cross between Chocolate Salami and nougat –  fruit and nuts are mixed into melted marshmallows, with the addition of crisp biscuit pieces for added texture. The biscuits also ‘lighten the bite’ and prevent it from being either too sweet or too cloying. Once formed into a slab, it is dusted with dried milk powder to give it a wintery effect.

I would recommend having some latex gloves on hand, no pun intended, to help with shaping the warm mass, but it is also possible to make-do without.

When your block has set firmly, you can slice it into serving portions and dust all cut surfaces with milk powder if liked, but I must confess to preferring to see the contrast between the powdery top/bottom and the crisp and sharply delineated sides showing the embedded jewels of fruit and nut. You can even omit the milk powder altogether, or substitute with desiccated coconut, but I would recommend at least trying it to begin with – maybe cut off a slice or two and just dust those.

Chocolate Snow Crisp

Chocolate Snow Crisp – dusted with cocoa

In terms of variations, the most popular I have found are chocolate (cocoa) and matcha. Being in powder form, they are easy both to add to the melted marshmallows and use for dusting – although changing the overall colour means you do lose the whole ‘snow’ theme somewhat. That said, it does allow you to use non-white marshmallow, if packs of all-white are difficult to find.

Fruits and nuts are entirely to your taste, but bright colours and whole nuts make for attractive shapes when cut through. If you make your own candied peel – and as readers of this blog you all do, obvs (no pressure 😉 ) – it can be substituted for some or all of the dried fruit, and a mix of seeds can replace the nuts.

The quantities given are sufficient for a block of about 20cm square – you can, of course, shape it however you prefer. They are also easy to remember, as I have made them proportional, and thus fairly straightforward to scale up or down, as required.

The biscuits you require should be crisp and dry. In the UK, Rich Tea biscuits or Arrowroot are ideal (regular or gluten-free), although you will have to break them into quarters for ease of shaping. If you’re a fan of the pairing of salty and sweet, you could even substitute Ritz crackers – the mini ones being perfectly sized to leave whole. Crisp and salty pretzels are a further option.

Snow Crisp

50g unsalted butter
200g white marshmallows
50g dried milk powder
50g dried fruit – cranberries & orange peel/blueberries/apricots
50g mixed nuts – pistachios & walnuts/almonds/cashews
200g crisp biscuits – Rich Tea/Arrowroot/gluten-free/Ritz, broken into quarters if large

Extra milk powder for dusting

  • Put the fruit, nuts and biscuits in a pile on a silicone mat.
  • Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over a very low heat.
  • Add the marshmallows and stir gently while they melt. This will take some time. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up, as they will quickly start to turn brown and caramelise.
  • When the marshmallows have melted, add the milk powder and stir until fully combined.
  • Pour the marshmallow mixture onto the fruits and biscuits.
  • Put on your plastic gloves and thoroughly mix everything together. Use a series  of gentle lifting and folding motions. You want the marshmallow to coat everything and hold together, without crushing the biscuits into dust.
  • Once the mixture is holding together in a mass, you can use a non-stick tin to help mould it into a rectangle. Press the mass into a corner of the tin to help form two square edges, then turn it around and repeat, pressing it gently by firmly into the sides.
  • When you’re happy with the dimensions of your slab, wrap it in plastic and put into the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.
  • When the slab has firmed up, dust with more of the milk powder, making sure the whole surface is covered. Turn the slab over and repeat.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the slab into serving sized pieces – about the size of a matchbox is good – it’s allows the edges to be seen and admired, and cn be eaten in just 2 bites.
  • Store in an airtight box.

Variations

  • Chocolate: Add 15-20g cocoa to the pan together with the milk powder, dust with cocoa.
  • Matcha: Add 15-20g matcha powder to the pan together with the milk powder, dust with a mixture of matcha and milk powder, or just matcha.
  • Fruit variations: Add 15-20g freeze-dried fruit powders (available here) to the pan together with the milk powder, use whole dried fruit in the filling and dust with extra fruit powder.
  • Coffee: Add 15-20g espresso coffee powder to the pan together with the milk powder, dust with a mixture of coffee & milk powder.
  • Oats: Replace half of the biscuits with toasted, rolled oats.

Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam

Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam

Wotchers!

A Bake Off recipe that never was, this week. Back in 2011, I was busy writing recipes for use on The Great British Bake Off, as all recipes had to be written and submitted before even one second of filming was completed.

Week 4 was Biscuit Week and right down to the wire I couldn’t decide whether to go with sweet Melting Moments or savoury Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam.

I love savoury, and the cheese biscuits were actually my first choice, because apart from being deliciously moreish, they provided a slight trompe l’oeil  by looking a little like (sweet) Jammie Dodgers. I even found a special biscuit press/mould that had a little indent, perfect for holding a blob of the tomato jam. I’ve had a look around and can now only find it sold on one website, in Australia, so if you’d like one for yourself, you can find it here.

As the days ticked by, I wrestled with the recipe but just couldn’t get the biscuit texture to my liking. So at the 11th hour I made the decision to go with the Melting Moments.

Rummaging around in the cellar recently, I came across the biscuit mould and decided to look out the recipe to see if I could successfully tweak it to my satisfaction, and here is the result.

The two changes I made I picked up from reading old recipe books, which pleases me greatly because it demonstrates how something old can still have uses and application today. The first was to substitute cornflour for some of the plain flour, as first mentioned on here in the recipe for Cheese and Potato Pies. This added the crispness and crumbliness I had been missing in the original recipe. The second tweak was to use freshly grated nutmeg in the seasoning (ready-ground just doesn’t have the same flavour in this instance) that I discovered in Mrs Frazer’s (1791) recipe for Macaroni Cheese (included in my NEW book, Deja Food), and which adds a fantastically complimentary note to the cheese flavour.

Don’t feel obliged to make/use the Tomato Jam – tomato chutney is just as delicious and the biscuits can also be enjoyed without any adornment at all.

Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam

Makes approx 40 small biscuits.

100g unsalted butter
155g of plain flour
45g cornflour (US cornstarch)
1/3 nutmeg – grated
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
60g grated parmesan cheese
A little cream or milk to mix

300g vine ripened tomatoes
1tbs tomato paste
50g caster sugar
2-3tbs lemon juice
pepper & salt to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Put the butter, flours, seasoning and cheese into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • With the motor running, drizzle in the milk/cream until the mixture comes together in a ball.
  • Roll out to a thickness of about 1cm, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until firm – about 1 hour.
  • Cut out into rectangles 3cm x 5cm and arrange on a parchment-covered baking sheet. They can be fairly close together, as there is little spreading during baking.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 8 minutes, to ensure even colouring.
  • When the biscuits are cooked through and golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Best served/eaten on the day baked, they can also be stored in an airtight container and warmed through when needed to crisp up.
  • To make the Tomato Jam.
    • Cut a small cross in the tip of the tomatoes and place in a bowl.
    • Pour over boiling water and soak for 2 minutes, until the skins split.
    • Transfer to a bowl of cold water and leave for 5  minutes to cool.
    • Remove skins and discard.
    • Cut the tomatoes in half around the ‘equator’, and remove the seeds.
    • Chop the tomatoes into 5mm cubes and transfer to a small saucepan.
    • Sieve the seeds and transfer to juice/jelly to the pan also.
    • Add the sugar and paste and simmer over a medium heat until the excess liquid has evaporated and the jam has thickened.
    • Allow to cool, then stir through the lemon juice.
    • When cold, season to taste.
    • Spoon onto cooled biscuits as liked.
    • Store any unused jam in a jar in the fridge.

Christmas Bake Off Biscuits

Christmas Wreath Biscuits

Wotchers!

In response to a couple of requests, I decided to publish the two biscuit recipes from the Christmas Bake Off. Obviously, no cameras were allowed on set, and regular listeners will know of my current lack-of-oven status preventing me from baking a set at home, so my husband kindly grabbed a couple of screen shots of them from the program – and, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a picture with my name on screen and the BBC logo in the corner 😀

I won’t go into all the ‘guidelines’ for these bakes, because they were many and restrictive, and also they concerned baking a particular irritation of mine, namely ‘stuff that looks like something else, usually not food-like’. I also firmly resisted suggestions to make things ‘sparkly’ and shunned all forms of edible glitter because, to my mind, if you need to label something ‘edible’, it probably shouldn’t be.

ANYHOO…

I settled on these recipes because they tasted great, were simple to prepare and decorate in a time limit, and looked attractive in a completely edible way.

Don’t wait until Christmas to give them a try, they’re delicious!

In a Mary Berry/Paul Hollywood double-handshake kinda way *resists urge to post screenshot of THAT too*. 😉

Christmas Wreath Biscuits

Makes at least 12

I must apologise for the silly ‘½ a large egg’ ingredient – if you have no pastry to glaze to use it up, make a teeny-tiny omelette or a double batch of biscuits!

115g unsalted butter – softened
100g caster sugar
zest of 2 oranges
½ a large egg – whisked
150g plain flour
50g cornflour
200g white chocolate couverture
2g Mycryo powdered cocoa butter
candied cranberries
slivered pistachios*
dried barberries*

  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add orange zest and egg, and mix thoroughly.
  • Add flours and mix to combine.
  • Tip out of the bowl, knead smooth and roll out to 8mm thick.
  • Cut out into 5cm rings.
  • Freeze for 15 minutes.
  • Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 200°C/180°C Fan for 6-8 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • To decorate:
    • Melt the white chocolate over hot water. Allow to cool to 33°C.
    • Stir in the Mycryo until melted. This is a fast way of tempering chocolate. For a softer ‘bite’, skip this step.
    • Pipe the white chocolate to cover, or carefully dip, the biscuits.
    • Press half a candied cranberry onto the bottom of the biscuit, then scatter over slivered pistachios and barberres.
    • Set aside to cool.
    • Thread thin ribbon through the middle to hang.

 

xmaspuddings

Pecan Praline Christmas Pudding Biscuits

Makes at least 12

70g toasted pecans – chopped
112g unsalted butter
65g light muscovado sugar
60g praline paste
½ tsp vanilla extract
1tbs dark rum
pinch of salt
125g plain flour
35g feuilletine
200g white chocolate couverture
2g Mycryo powdered cocoa butter
50g milk chocolate chips
candied angelica
dried barberries

  • Beat butter and sugar until well blended.
  • Add vanilla, praline paste and rum and mix thoroughly.
  • Combine flour and salt and add to the butter and sugar mixture until it’s just beginning to blend.
  • Add pecans and feuilletine and mix.
  • Roll out to a thickness of 5-8mm. Scatter with chocolate chips and press lightly into the dough.
  • Cut out with 5cm plain round cutter.
  • Poke a hole in each biscuit for the ribbon. A bubble tea straw is ideal.
  • Freeze for 15 minutes.
  • Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 170°C/150°C Fan for 8-10 minutes.
  • Cool on the tin for 10 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To decorate:
    • Melt the white chocolate over hot water. Allow to cool to 33°C.
    • Stir in the Mycryo until melted. This is a fast way of tempering chocolate. For a softer ‘bite’, skip this step.
    • Drizzle over the top half of the biscuits to resemble cream. Make sure the hole doesn’t become blocked.
    • Decorate with angelica holly leaves and barberries.
    • Set aside for the chocolate to firm up.
    • When set, thread ribbon through the hole and hang.

 

* Available online from Sally at the fabulous Persepolis, 28-30 Peckham High Street, http://foratasteofpersia.co.uk/