white chocolate cherry shortbread

Standard

I don’t think this was terribly successful. I found a recipe online somewhere (I can’t remember where) that claimed you could actually form this dough, once assembled, into a cohesive ball and then could flatten it with a glass to make individual cookies.

No. Fail. Maybe less flour, more butter? Using the recipe below, however, I salvaged it by just pressing the dough into round pans like I do with any other normal shortbread recipe. It was crumbly, and I was skeptical as to whether it would hold together and allow me to cut it into slices. But it did… and even though I have no idea how it tastes or even if the slices will hold up until I get them to their intended recipients, it at least worked well enough for now. I suspect these could be experimented with to achieve a better consistency.

White chocolate cherry shortbread
1/2 cup candied cocktail cherries, chopped finely
2 1/2 cups flour (maybe 2 cups would be better?)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 to 2 cups white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond, if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 325F/160C. Use two round cake pans to bake in.

Mix flour, sugar, butter and mix until fine crumbs form. Mix in the extract.

Add your cherries and chocolate. Divide dough into the two pans and press it firmly into the pan evenly. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.

 

Back to basics: Brown sugar shortbread

Standard

As I’ve written about before, there are different ways to make the baking world’s most basic baked good: shortbread.

I like my regular shortbread recipe, and it’s pretty basic and easy to bake (press it into a pan and bake – cut into slabs when done).

IMG_1820

But my friend Jane gave me a brown sugar shortbread recipe that has even fewer ingredients and can easily be rolled out and cut into desired shapes. I don’t usually have the patience for the rolling-and-cutting rigmarole, but this year I decided I’d go for a few.

I cut a few trees and a few stars. I used some raspberry jam in small indentations on the trees; I used some lemon curd in small indentations on the stars. These were popular – and they’re nice because they have a very different crisp but not too crispy texture. And they turned out to look very simple and beautiful.

Baked goods 23 September 2014

Standard

I did a lot of baking and think there was a little something for everyone.

The whole bake

The whole bake

Tricky transport of baked goods

Tricky transport of baked goods

Recipes in the links.

Cookies & cream cupcakes

cookies and cream cupcakes

cookies and cream cupcakes

Matcha green tea cupcakes with raspberry frosting

Matcha green tea cupcakes with raspberry frosting

Matcha green tea cupcakes with raspberry frosting

Raffaello-filled vanilla cupcakes with vanilla-coconut frosting

Raffaello cupcakes

Raffaello cupcakes

Carrot pineapple spice cupcakes with vanilla + Heath bar frosting
Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting

Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's frosting

Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting

Maltesers chocolate malt cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Maltesers cupcakes

Maltesers cupcakes

Brown sugar maple cupcakes with maple frosting and candied bacon

Brown sugar cupcakes with maple frosting and candied bacon

Brown sugar cupcakes with maple frosting and candied bacon

Shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

intact rounds of shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

intact rounds of shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

shortbread with chocolate sprinkles - inside-out

shortbread with chocolate sprinkles – inside-out

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

white chocolate macadamia and M&M cookies

white chocolate macadamia and M&M cookies

Crack pie – recipe coming soon

How much crack is in that crack pie?

How much crack is in that crack pie?

Gooey insides of crack pie

Gooey insides of crack pie

ANZAC biscuits

A pile of ANZAC biscuits. Eat your heart out, Aussies and Kiwis!

A pile of ANZAC biscuits. Eat your heart out, Aussies and Kiwis!

M&M cookies

M&M cookies - always a favorite

M&M cookies – always a favorite

Coconut caramel macchiato bars

Gone in a flash! Coconut caramel macchiato bars

Gone in a flash! Coconut caramel macchiato bars

Chocolate cookies filled with Smil (Rolo) candy
Chocolate mint cookies

chocolate cookies with mint chips; chocolate cookies filled with Smil candy

chocolate cookies with mint chips; chocolate cookies filled with Smil candy

Gluten-free paleo brownies

Gluten-free, paleo brownies

Gluten-free, paleo brownies

Gluten-free coconut chocolate bites

photo(5)
Peanut butter bars – recipe coming soon

Peanut butter bars with peanut butter and chocolate chips

Peanut butter bars with peanut butter and chocolate chips

Baked goods & recipes – May 27

Standard

When I finally came out of hibernation and baked, I ended up making nine different things to take to my office. I had a list of more things than that but was so slow in the baking process that I was not even sure I would manage to make the nine things I did. But here is the recount and all the recipes, for those who care:

M&M cookies

MMM MMMMMM ... M&M cookies

MMM MMMMMM … M&M cookies

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Ever-popular favorite: White chocolate macadamia cookies

Ever-popular favorite: White chocolate macadamia cookies

ANZAC biscuits

Deceiving you into thinking they're healthy: ANZAC biscuits

Deceiving you into thinking they’re healthy: ANZAC biscuits

Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo bars for all those times you don't count calories and/or want to pretend you're Canadian

Nanaimo bars for all those times you don’t count calories and/or want to pretend you’re Canadian

Coconut macaroon shells filled with dark chocolate ganache

Gluten-free doesn't mean it's not amazing: Dark chocolate ganache filling in coconut macaroon tart shells

Gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s not amazing: Dark chocolate ganache filling in coconut macaroon tart shells

Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Reese’s peanut butter cups

Heart attack in cookie form: Reese's peanut butter cup stuffed in giant chocolate chip cookie

Heart attack in cookie form: Reese’s peanut butter cup stuffed in giant chocolate chip cookie

Chocolate cookies with Andes mint chips

Using the rare Andes mints for chocolate mint cookies

Using the rare Andes mints for chocolate mint cookies

Chocolate cookies with Reese’s peanut butter chips

Using up peanut butter chips brought by "chip mule" from the States - chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips

Using up peanut butter chips brought by “chip mule” from the States – chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips

Shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

Perennial favorite - buttery shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

Perennial favorite – buttery shortbread with chocolate sprinkles

Sorted for shortbread – Honey almond shortbread

Standard

It’s pretty much a given that when I bake, I will bake basic shortbread, which my friend Esteban always says is “full of win”. (One of our other former colleagues – from Poland perhaps – was confused when Esteban said this, “Full of win?” as if “win” were an essential ingredient rather than a descriptor.) A few current colleagues also go for the shortbread first – it’s plain and not too sweet, making it a perfect complement for the first cup of the coffee in the morning. Not too heavy or sweet for eating first thing (unlike quite a lot of the other baked goods). My big Christmas bake was no exception – three rounds of plain shortbread were part of the big Christmas spread.

Shortbread - for the win

Shortbread – for the win

However, I decided to try for the second time ever a recipe for honey almond shortbread. My first try turned out far too brittle so kind of broke into pieces when I tried to cut it. Unlike the regular shortbread, which stays a very light color when baked, the honey-almond version browns quickly and, because of the ingredients inside, does much more easily become dry, brittle and hard to cut into decent pieces – although it was much easier to cut this time than in my past effort. (I knew from experience to keep a close eye on it as it baked!)

honey almond shortbread

Honey almond shortbread
1 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped almonds (or other desired nut)
Dark chocolate to melt and drizzle on top (or dip the cookie in)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease round cake pans.

Beat butter, honey and vanilla together. Add the flour. Mix. Stir nuts in by hand.

Press dough into prepared pans. Score with a knife.

Bake about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a rack before removing. Cool completely and then cut according to the pre-scored lines. Melt the chocolate and either dip the ends of the shortbread in the chocolate. Or place the wedges on a parchment sheet and drizzle chocolate on the pieces (you can then sprinkle them with more nuts or sprinkles or other such stuff). Put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to let the chocolate set.

(This time I did not drizzle chocolate on top. My second try did work out somewhat better than the first.)

Honey almond shortbread - a little shaky

Honey almond shortbread – a little shaky

“Nothing clings to you like laughter…” – Full list of 2013 holiday baking

Standard

I started off today in the office exchanging messages on Facebook with a colleague who was on a bus – it was unintentionally stalker-like to see her progress as her public transport made its way to different parts of the city, and I could track her, thinking, “Oh, she must have stopped responding because she is walking up the path to the office now…”. In any case, our conversation started the day off on the right foot because it sparked laughter. And, as Robyn Hitchcock sings, “Nothing clings to you like laughter…“. Too true.

I also noted that the 24 kinds of baked goods that I brought to the office yesterday – the logistical nightmare that that was – has been reduced and fits nicely on two long tables instead of three. Progress!

Christmas 2013 spread - three full tables

Christmas 2013 spread – three full tables

The final list of stuff baked and brought along with links to recipes (where they exist – some I was making for the first time so will post in new posts in the coming days)…

COCONUT-MACADAMIA COOKIES

CHRISTMAS M&M COOKIES (I know this links to a white chocolate macadamia cookie recipe, but I have been using it for M&M cookies for a while – prefer it to the one I used to use. Just eliminate the macadamia and white chocolate and put M&Ms in instead!)

VANILLA ORANGE ALMOND BISCOTTI   

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI

TART CHERRY & PINE NUT BISCOTTI      

GINGERBREAD

THUMBPRINTS (WALNUTS & CHERRY)  

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES (ALMOND)

SHORTBREAD                            

CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES

SNICKERDOODLES                    

RASPBERRY OAT BARS

PEANUT BUTTER CUPS                  

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

OREO TRUFFLES           

MAPLE PECAN COOKIES

PUMPKIN PIE                             

RAFFAELLO CANDY CUPCAKES (ALMOND, COCONUT)

BROWN SUGAR CUPCAKES W/ MAPLE FROSTING AND CANDIED BACON

GUINNESS CUPCAKES W/ BAILEYS FROSTING

OREO CHOCOLATE COOKIES-AND-CREAM CUPCAKES

EGGNOG COOKIES                    

PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS

HONEY ALMOND SHORTBREAD