Baked with love

Baked with love

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your family and friends? Whip up a delicious batch of biscuits and share the home-baked love.

Sugar Biscuits

Makes 40 biscuits
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes

• 200g butter
• 100g castor sugar
• 5ml vanilla essence
• 300g cake flour, sifted
• 2ml salt
• 15ml cocoa powder (optional)
• 5g granulated white sugar
• 5g hundreds and thousands

Preheat the oven to 150˚C. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, castor sugar and vanilla essence. Add the sifted flour and salt and work to a soft dough. (For two-tone biscuits, blend one-third of the dough with the cocoa powder. Roll the two batches of dough into logs and twist them around each other.) Roll into a uniform log and slice into 1cm-thick discs or, better yet, place the dough in an automatic biscuit maker and press out your selected shapes straight onto a baking tray – there is no need to grease the tray as these biscuits are so rich in butter. Sprinkle the biscuits with the white sugar and hundreds and thousands. Bake for 10 minutes until firm to the touch.

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Jammy Heart Biscuits

Makes 25 biscuits
Preparation time: 5 minutes,
plus 2 hours’ chilling
Baking time: 16 minutes

• 200g butter
• 100g icing sugar
• a pinch of salt
• 2 egg yolks
• 5ml vanilla essence
• 250g cake flour
• icing sugar for dusting
• 100ml jam of your choice

Cream the butter and icing sugar, then beat in the salt, egg yolks and vanilla essence. Sift in the flour and beat until the mixture forms a dough. Be careful not to overmix the dough at any stage. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Roll out the dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up the dough again. Line two baking trays with baking paper. With a lightly floured 5cm round cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place them on the lined baking trays. Roll out the dough offcuts (refrigerating again if necessary) and cut out more biscuits, repeating until all the dough has been used up. Cut a heart shape out of the centres of half of the biscuits. Chill the shaped biscuits for about 30 minutes to firm up once more. Preheat the oven to 160˚C and bake the biscuits for 14–16 minutes until they are a light golden brown. If they spread slightly and lose their shape, recut them as they come out of the oven, while they are still warm. Cool on a wire rack. Dust the rounds with the heart cut-outs with icing sugar. Heat the jam a little on the stove or in the microwave oven so that it becomes spreadable. To assemble the biscuits, sandwich together a whole round and a heart cut-out round with jam. Repeat with the remaining biscuits.

florentines

Florentines

Makes 24 Florentines
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 18 minutes

• 110g butter
• 120g castor sugar
• 30ml cream
• 55g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
• 45g dried cranberries, chopped
• 45g soft dried figs, chopped
• 50g flaked almonds
• 120g whole almonds, chopped
• 150g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Line a baking tray with greased baking paper or a silicone mat. Move the oven rack to the top of the oven. Heat the butter, castor sugar and cream in a saucepan on the stove until the sugar has dissolved, then bring the mixture to the boil and simmer until it reaches 115˚C (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat and mix in the cherries, cranberries, figs and both types of almonds. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture, spaced far apart, onto the lined baking tray and flatten them slightly with a wet spoon. Bake for 15–18 minutes, until the mixture has spread out and turned a golden colour. Remove from the oven and immediately use a greased cookie cutter to manipulate the soft cookies into round shapes. Leave to cool and harden on the baking paper or silicone mat. Melt the chopped dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of hot water or in a double boiler. Flip over the cooled Florentines and spoon the melted chocolate over the bottom of each one, then use a comb scraper or fork to create a zigzag pattern across the chocolate. Leave to set.

 

cookie-jar

These recipes are from Lisa Clark’s book The Cookie Jar: 100 Recipes for Biscuits, Rusks and Cookies (Penguin Random House). Written for the home baker, the recipes have been thoroughly tried and tested, and they are easy to follow and use everyday ingredients.
The Cookie Jar will take you back to the days when baking was an important part of life, and is available now at leading bookstores for R200.

This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of Club.

 

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