Tag Archives: Biscuits

Ginger Slice

Ginger has widely been used for its healing properties for thousands of years. Originating in Southern Asia it eventually spread through the rest of Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. In the middle ages ginger made its way to Europe via the spice trade where it was commonly used to make sweets.

Ginger is now grown in many places all over the world including Australia. I came across some interesting “Did you know” facts while looking at the Buderim Ginger, Australian website.

For example, did you know:

  • Henry VIII praised ginger’s goodness as a cure for the plague.

and

  • During the Middle Ages, ginger was valued on par with black pepper. A pound of either was worth the price of one sheep.

and

  • Ginger was the first crop planted in the Americas after Columbus.

I can’t honestly say this ginger slice contains all the health benefits attributed to ginger, but it sure is tasty!

Ginger Slice

By Donna Hay Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 375gm plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 220gm caster sugar
  • 250gm cold butter, chopped.

Ginger Icing

  • 150gm butter, chopped
  • 90gm golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 240gm icing sugar, sifted.

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm x 30cm tin with oil and line with baking paper.

Place the flour, baking powder, ginger, sugar into a bowl and stir to combine. Pour into food processer.

Add butter and process until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and press mixture into tin until compact.

Bake for 35-40 mins or until golden brown and firm to touch.

Remove from heat and set aside while you make icing.

Place butter, golden syrup and ginger into a saucepan over a medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until butter has melted.

Add the icing sugar and whisk to combine.

Pour icing over the base and refrigerate for at least an hour or until set.

Remove from tin and cut into slices.

Mint Chocolate Macarons

 

While there may be some debate on where the macaron originally came from, a popular, and by far my favourite, version is that it was introduced to France in the 16th century from Italy when Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France. I can just imagine her rocking up to the palace with her Italian pastry chefs in tow looking down her nose at the courtiers and announcing I bring you “the macaron”…. ok possibly that is only the way it happened in my imagination!

Macarons are one of those things that strike fear into the heart of many a baker and I can say from experience that they definitely take practice and the old saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is certainly apt in this case.  This is by far the best attempt I have made at the macaron and it has come about by trial and a lot of error…. I mean practice.

Recipe

Adapted from Secrets of Macarons by Jose Marechal.

Makes 20 filled macarons

Note: you will require a sugar thermometer for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 200gm almond meal
  • 200gm pure icing sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 200gm caster sugar
  • 2 x 80gm egg white
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • mint green food colouring gel
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • 100gm dark chocolate
  • 50gm pure cream.

Method

Place almond meal and icing sugar in food processor and process for 3-5 minutes. Sieve mixture into a mixing bowl and set aside for later use.

Bring water and sugar to boil in a saucepan. At the same time place 80gm of egg white in stand mixer and on a slow speed whisk to soft peaks.

Once your water and sugar temperature has reached 105°C increase the speed of the mixer and beat until the egg whites have reached firm peaks.

Once the temperature of the water and sugar has reached 115°C remove the sugar from the heat and gently pour into the egg whites in a thin stream while continuing to whisk at a medium speed. Be careful to pour sugar down the side of the bowl so you don’t hit the whisk. Continue to whisk for 10 minutes to allow mixture to cool.

In the meantime, combine the almond mixture with the remaining 80gm egg white and mix to combine.

Add in peppermint extract to almond mixture.

Add a small amount of gel colour to the almond mixture and mix, add more colour if required. Note: the colour will turn out lighter once you mix in the meringue so you do need to go darker than you want the finished colour to be.

Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture to the almond mixture and fold in until fully combined with a spatula, this will loosen the mixture. Add the remaining meringue and gently fold in until all the colour and mix is evenly combined – at this point be careful to not knock air out of the mix.

Pipe even rounds onto a tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

Leave macarons to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Bake for approx. 14-16 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and allow to cool completely before peeling macarons off the paper.

To make ganache bring cream to the boil, pour over chopped chocolate and mix with a spatula until melted and completely smooth. Cool in the fridge until at piping consistency.

Place ganache in a piping bag and pipe onto one side of the shell. Join macarons together.

 

 

Cherry and chocolate chip cookies and a lemon stealing wallaby

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

A family of wallabies has moved into the Lemon Grove garden. At first they stayed way down the back of the section closest to the reserve. Gradually they have made their way closer and closer to the house until just yesterday when I caught one with his greedy paws on my lemon tree. He spotted me just as he plucked the best looking lemon off the tree. So there he is frozen in place staring at me while holding onto his stolen bounty for dear life, then he hopped off at an incredible speed before leaping over the back fence and into safety. It was a surprise to me as while I knew wallabies were herbivores I didn’t know they ate lemons! My lemon stealing wallabies never quite come close enough for a photo opportunity so you will just have to make do with these shots of today’s blog offering: cherry and chocolate chip cookies.

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe

Makes 14

Ingredients

  • 125gm unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 85gm caster sugar
  • 85gm light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 165gm plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 100gm chocolate chips
  • 70gm dried cherries.

Method

Heat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the butter, vanilla extract, caster sugar, brown sugar and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until fully combined.

Remove the bowl from mixer and add in the flour and baking soda in two batches. Mix with a spatula to combine.

Add the chocolate chips and dried cherries and mix in using a spatula.

Scoop heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on pre-prepared baking tray, allow at least 3-4cm for the cookies to spread.

Bake at 180°C for approx. 12 minutes. Cool on baking tray to allow cookies to firm before moving from the tray.

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies