Category Archives: Cookies and Biscuits

Lemon Sandwich Biscuits

 

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Makes ~30 biscuits

325g plain flour
200g butter
125g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1/4 jar lemon curd
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C and line 3 baking trays.
– Put the flour and butter, chopped into pieces, in a food processor and blitz until it looks like breadcrumbs.
– Add the sugar and lemon zest and blitz until mixed in.
– Add the egg yolks and blend until it comes together to form a dough.
– Tip out onto a worksurface and bring together with your hands into a smooth ball.
– Roll out the dough on a well floured worsurface to a thickness of about 5mm.  You may need to split the dough into smaller amounts to roll it out.
– Cut out using a flower shaped cutter (or any other shape you want!)
– Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until just golden.  I find it best to cut out a tray of biscuits and while one is in the oven have the next resting in the fridge.
– Cool on a wire rack.
– Sandwich two biscuits with a teaspoon of lemon curd in the middle and gently press together.
– Mix together the icing sugar and enough lemon juice to form a runny drizzle.  Place it in a sandwich bag and snip the corner off.
– Place the biscuits on trays and drizzle the icing back and forth over the biscuits.
– Leave the icing to dry before packing away in a tin.

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Orange Refrigerator Cookies

I had a plan.  It was a good plan too.  I was going to put a post up on Mondays and Fridays.  Nice and easy, get a bit of organisation going on and keep my cooking mojo going.  Life doesn’t seem to agree with me though.  First I lost the recipe I was going to post, then I got the mother of all stinking colds and was out of action for a week.  However, here I am ready to roll (although, admittedly snuggled up in bed as it’s miserable outside and I’m still a bit unwell).

This recipe is an old favourite from childhood.  The main selling point is basically, cookies on demand! You make the dough, bung it in the fridge (or freezer) and then when you want cookies you simply slice however many you want off the log and bake them. 15 minutes later you have cookies! What’s not to love about that?

Makes about 48

125g butter
150g caster sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg
250g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
100g plain chocolate chips

– Cream together the butter and the sugar.
– Add the orange zest (I like to zest my orange over the bowl so that you get all the lovely orange oil too for really fragrant biscuits).
– Beat in the egg.
– Sift in the flour and baking powder and add the chocolate chips.
– Mix until it forms a dough.
– Shape the dough into two logs about 2″ thick.
– Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to one week.
-When ready to bake heat the oven to gas mark for and slice however many cookies you require from the log and place them on a baking tray.
– Bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool on the tray for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.  (Or eat warm with a glass of milk for utter comfort food!)

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Easy Chocolate Biscuits

These biscuits are easy and so so delicious!  Really, you need no other reccomendation to cook them.  Do it now!  For so simple an ingredient list they are absolutley delightful.  They remind me or a biscuit we used to get at school at break time.  Perfect with a glass of milk, I dare you to just eat one!

These come from Nigella’s HTBADG and I’ve yet to find a recipe in there that doesn’t work and that I don’t like.  It really is as fabulous a book as everyone says.  I was browsing the pages while I waited for one of my cakes to cook/cool etc. and I just so happened to have half a packet of butter left so I whipped up half a batch of these.  I suppose I should be glad I didn’t make a whole batch because I’d have eaten them all myself but I’m a little sad I didn’t, fat be damned! 

Makes 35ish

250g unsalted butter, softened
125g golden caster sugar
300g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3, grease/line 2 baking sheets. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth and fluffy. 
– Seive in the flour and cocoa. 
– Mix until it comes together into a dough.  (It will come together, just work it!)
– Pinch off walnut sized chunks and roll into balls. 
– Place on a baking tray, well spaced as they will spread. 
– Press down with a fork to give them the lines. 
– Bake for 5 minutes then turn down to gas mark 2 and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.  Bake until just firm.  The biscuit should not be soft to the touch but if it’s rock hard you’ve gone too far!
– Place on a wire rack to cool. 
– You will need to cook these in two batches unless you have a stupidly large oven so turn the oven back up and start again.

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Pudsey Gingerbear Biscuits

For Children In Need this year I will be doing my bit by baking for the office.  I have a battle plan for this week to make sure I’ll have lots of treats, and lots of donations!  These are made from the same gingerbread recipe I used for gingerbread cottages last year but made in lovely thick, ginger biscuits.  I tried the recipe that came on the back of the Pudsey cookie cutter but the biscuits spread far too much so I won’t be selling those, no one wants deformed bear biscuits!

Makes ~19 (and one Pudsey Head!)

250g unsalted butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
7 tbsp golden syrup
600g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and prepare two baking trays… or more if you can do more than two trays at a time! 
– Melt together the butter, sugar and syrup in a large pan. 
– Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger in a large mixing bowl and mix them together. 
– Pour the melted butter mixture into the flour and mix well with a spoon until a dough is formed. 
– Roll out the dough to the thickness of your Pudsey cookie cutter.  Do this by placing the cutter on the worksurface next to the dough and rolling over that too so you don’t go too far. 
– Cut out your shapes and place on lined baking trays. 
– Bake for ~10 minutes watching carefully because it is very easy to burn these. 
– Once out of the oven allow the biscuits to cool on the trays for 5-10 minutes until hard then cool completely on a wire rack. 
– Repeat for the rest of the dough.

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Button Biscuits

When I saw a picture of these I was instantly smitten!  How cute are they?  However, I didn’t really want to make chocolate ones as I was in the mood for something simpler and I didn’t want to make the 30 the recipe said.  So I basically took the picture and then went my own way with the recipe entirely.  I’m actually pretty pleased that I am at the stage with my cooking and baking where I can confidently do that.  I’ve always been one of those cooks who sees a recipe as more of a guideline than a rule but with baking you have to be much more careful as a little change can make a big difference. 

I’m happy to say that my changes produced a lovely biscuity biscuit.  Warm from the oven they are sublime and the simplicity is exactly what I wanted.  Nothing fancy of faffy, just a plain old delicious biscuit.  And have I mentioned how cute I think they are?  Oh, I have?  Oops!

Makes ~25

115g butter, softened *
70g golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
160g plain flour
small pinch of salt

– In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. 
– Add the egg yolk and mix in thoroughly. 
– Sift in the flour and salt. 
– Stir until combined into a soft dough. 
– Bring the dough together with your hands. 
– Wrap in clingfilm or a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. 
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line 2 large baking trays. 
– Roll out the cold dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of about 5mm.**
– Cut out 5cm rounds and carefully lift them onto the prepared trays. 
– If necessary chill the excess dough before rerolling it. 
– Using a shot glass of bottle cap press down to create a dip in the centre of the circle. 
– Use a tooth pick or small skewer to create 4 small holes. 
– Bake for 10 minutes near the top of the oven but be careful not to let them burn.  Take them out before they start to brown. 
– Let them stand for 5 minutes on the trays then remove them to a cooling rack and try not to eat them all at once!

* Either leave it at room temperature for a few hours or weigh it out and give it 20 seconds in the microwave)
** We keep the plastic sheeting that comes around ready rolled icing and marzipan for this job.

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Vanilla Cut Out Biscuits

I love a good cut out biscuit, who doesn’t like rolling and cutting dough into fun shapes?  I found myself at a bit of a lose end last night so I decided to have a go at this recipe I’d seen.  It seemed fairly simple and I managed to throw it together pretty quickly.  I made the dough before dinner then chilled it while we ate then rolled and cooked after we were done. 

The dough did get a lot more difficult to work with as it warmed up though. It was very soft and squishy after a rather short space of time so you need to work quickly and know when to stop and re-chill it.  Other than that there were no problems with it for me.  It makes a delicious shortbread-like biscuit and holds its shape very well with a minumum amount of spreading so long as you don’t roll the dough too thick.  The thicker the dough, the greater the spread so try to keep it nearer the 3mm mark than 5mm. 

Makes… well the recipe says 30, which sounds like it could be in the ballpark, we started eating them too quickly for me to count!  They’re very moreish!

225g butter, softened*
140g golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
small pinch of salt

– Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy. 
– Add the egg yolk and the vanilla and beat in until well combined. 
– Sift in the flour and salt and mix until it forms a dough, bring it together with your hands. 
– Split the dough in half and flatten into discs. 
– Wrap in sandwich bags or cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30mins. 
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line 2 baking trays. 
– Take one disc at a time out of the fridge and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 3mm.**
– Cut out your shapes and transfer to the lined baking sheets. 
– Bake for 10 minutes until just turning golden brown around the edges. 
– Cool on the tray for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack. 
– Repeat in batches until all your douigh is used up, re-rolling and re-chilling as necessary.

* I give it 20 seconds in the microwave for butter straight from the fridge. 
** We save the plastic sheets that ready rolled icing and marzipan comes in for doing things like this.

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Gingerbread

I love making a gingerbread house at Christmas time.  However, I’m never any good at eating it.  When you’ve worked so hard to assemble this work of edible art it’s heartbreaking to have to destroy it.  Therefore I thought what about a gingerbread village?  Little houses so you could eat them one at a time and not feel bad for destroying your entire creation!  So that’s what I did. 

These have been a labour of love I tell you!  I actually made the gingerbread weeks ago but never quite had the time to sit down and get on with putting them together.  As a result I ate a bunch of the sweets I had been going to use and there were more than a few breakages and someone, I’m looking at you dad, ate a roof tile.  In theory this recipe makes 6 little gingerbread cottages.  I got 3.  But such is life. 

This gingerbread dough isn’t perhaps the ideal one you’re looking for to make houses but it does make an excellent biscuit.  It spreads a little inconsistently while baking so I got some wonky bits and the dough is easiest to work with while still warm, after that it starts to crack a little while you’re handling it.  For that reason I haven’t given you the pattern I used for my houses, but they were about 3″x4″.  Next year I’ll be trying a different recipe for my houses but for biscuits to eat or hang on the tree I think this could be a winner. 

  Makes 6 3″x4″ houses or, in theory, 1 large house.  Make 1/2 if for biscuits unless you need dozens. 

250g unsalted butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
7 tbsp golden syrup
600g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and find every baking tray in the house. 
– Melt together the butter, sugar and syrup in a large pan. 
– Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger in a large mixing bowl and mix them together. 
– Pour the melted butter mixture into the flour and mix well with a spoon until a dough is formed. 
– Roll out the dough to a thickness of 5mm.  (You will have to do this in batches unless you’re very good and have a large work surface.)
– Cut out your shapes and place on lined baking trays. 
– Bake for 10-12 minutes watching carefully because it is very easy to burn these.  Try to get the houses each on one tray so they’re a consistent colour. 
– Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes until hard then cool completely on a wire rack. 
– Repeat for the rest of the batches. 

To assemble the houses I use a ‘glue’ made from 200g icing sugar and 2-3 tbsp boiling water.  You can use royal icing if you want it to be stronger but this tastes much better.  I pipe strips of icing down the edges of the ‘sides’ then carefully press all 4 walls together, you may need an extra pair of hands for this part.  Then I allow that stage to dry.  Once dried I put on the roof tiles again by piping strips of icing all around the top of the house then very gently pressing down the tiles.  Then I pipe a line along the apex.  The chimneys, if making, are done in almost exactly the same way.  I leave the houses to dry, preferably for an hour, then get on with decorating with sweets using the same kind of ‘glue’ to stick everything on. 

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Condensed Milk Cookies

I’ve posted this recipe before calling it American Cookies but I’m British so all my cookie recipes are ‘American’ or I call them biscuits.  When people ask me to make these they ask for “the condensed milk ones” and so I have renamed them.  I’ve also discovered since I first made them just how versatile the basic cookie dough can be.  Today I made the final addition to everyone’s christmas hamper:  Individually flavoured cookies. 

My sister has become obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate and so I made her peanut butter and chocolate cookies.  Dad loves ginger and chilli and so that’s what he got.  Mum was harder as she’s a mum and so says she likes whatever I make her but I know she loves marzipan so she got a sort of bakewell cookie… a fakewell if you will.  I also made myself a batch of chocolate and hazelnut cookies for immediate snacking.  There are no photos of that flavour as my family immediately snacked on them!  The joy of this is I made one batch of dough and then simply divided it into 4 and carried on to do all the different flavours I wanted. 

Makes ~36 cookies

255g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
170g condensed milk
350g self raising flour

For the toppings: (no amounts as it depends how many you make of each flavour)
natural coloured glace cherries
marzipan
flaked almonds
stem ginger in syrup, chopped into eighths
ginger and chilli sauce (I used Tesco’s Finest ice cream sauce but it’s totallyoptional.) 
cocoa powder
peanut butter
chocolate chips
chopped hazelnuts

– First line 5 baking sheets with baking paper and heat the oven to gas mark 4.  (If you don’t have 5 then just prep the paper and then reuse trays as they come free.)
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. 
– Mix in the condensed milk. 
– Add the flour and mix until it is all combined in a soft dough. 
– Divide the dough into 4 if making 4 flavours. 

For Chocolate and Peanut Cookies:
– Take 1/4 of the dough and put it into a smaller bowl. 
– Add a few spoons of cocoa powder and knead in until it forms a nice even chocolate colour. 
– Pinch off a walnut sized (and I really mean walnut sized, it’s smaller than you’d think!) bit of dough and roll it into a ball. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Add a spoon of peanut butter to the centre. 
– Fold and pinch over the edges so that the peanut butter is completely enclosed in the dough. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and flatten slightly and tidy up any really wonky ones. 
– Repeat with the rest of that dough. 

For Ginger Chilli Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place 4 chunks of ginger in the centre of the disc and fold up the edges of the dough to make a sort of bowl around it. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and then pour over a little of the syrup from the jar or some of the chilli ginger sauce. 

For the ‘Bakewell’ Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Pinch off a ball of marzipan about the size of a Malteaser and flatten into a disc. 
– Place the disc in the centre of the dough and fold over the very edges. 
– Place a glace cherry in the centre and then flaked almonds aroung that. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

For the Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies:
– With the final 1/4 flatten the dough out and sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts. 
– Knead these in until well distributed throughout the dough. 
– Pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

– Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  (I switch over the top and bottom trays after 10 minutes then give them both 5 minutes more.)
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. 
– Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 NB. These cookies do spread a lot, almost double, so be very careful not to place them too closely together:

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American Cookies

I found this recipe on the Carnation Pudcasts bit.  I’m having a go at fudge soon but this evening I was in need of a little baked pick me up and thought I’d have a go at these cookies.  The recipe on there is for Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies but I decided to keep it simple with just chocolate chips… a lot of chocolate chips!  However, you could make these with just about anything.  I’d have loved to put some chopped hazelnuts in these but I couldn’t find any in the cupboard. 

Usually I make drop cookies so I was very interested in making these as they are a dough cookie.  I made my balls a little too large and they spread out pretty far but I will learn from this.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I figured I could cut the recipe in half but since it’s christmas and the hordes will soon be descending it’s good to have a stash of cookies about the place!  The texture of these cookies is just about perfect.  Crisp crunch as you bite down, lovely and chewy as you chew them.  This may be my new favourite cookie recipe!  The other plus point to these cookies is that they are egg free so perfect for those who are allergic. 

Makes 30 large cookies

255g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
170g condensed milk
350g self raising flour
~200g chocolate chips (I think I used closer to 300g, which was probably a bit much)

– First line 4 baking sheets with baking paper and heat the oven to gas mark 4. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. 
– Mix in the condensed milk. 
– Add the flour and mix until it is all combined in a soft dough. 
– Add the chocolate chips (or whatever you’re using) and mix until well distributed. 
– Use your hands to make small balls (walnut sized is good, mine were more golf balls and a bit too big). Press the ball out flat on the baking sheet to about 5mm thick and round.  Leave at least 1 1/2 inches between each cookie or they will join up. 
– Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  (The top tray took 15 minutes then the lower tray needed an extra five on the top shelf for mine.)
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. 
– Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Variations: See this post for more variations and ideas from this basic dough.

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Butter Cut Out Biscuits

I finally got around to trying out a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess but as always I changed a few things round and the method is my own words.  I have been looking for, and been disappointed by, recipes for cut out biscuits for years now and with this one I may have just about cracked it!  My previous attempts have always been to crunch, too soft or plain just didn’t taste any good!  This biscuit comes out beautifully, neither crunchy nor squishy it is just a simple, flakey butter biscuit.  The point, of course, of cut out biscuits is to have something to decorate.  They really are just a vehicle for pretty icing.  These certainly fulfil all of their obligations.  My icing isn’t any good yet but that will come with practice and until then I get to eat lots of biscuits! 

The other excellent thing I found with this recipe is that it’s designed to make double what you’ll need (unless feeding a very large party) and you then freeze the second lot until later when you just defrost and off you go.  I love to cook but I managed to give myself a blister from too much creaming butter and sugar by hand when I made these (I was on a bit of a baking bender!) so I’m very happy to think that all the hard work has been done and there’s a fresh batch of biscuits just sitting there waiting for me in the freezer. 

I made these in the recent Halloween Extravaganza so spooky shapes they were.  I’m sure eating this much black icing is bad for me but I’m pretty certain that these biscuits are getting better as the days go by.  Obviously I’ll be doing this again at Christmas!  One word of warning though, make sure the icing is totally dry before boxing them and if you have anything like the cats here with narrow extremities then be very, very careful as they will snap quite easily.  I have a box full of deformed cats now! 

Butter Cut Out Biscuits

Makes 2 large baking trays worth (the number depends on how big, or small, your cutters are)

175g butter
200g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour (you will probably need more, I needed another few good spoonfuls)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
300g icing sugar
a few tbsp lemon juice
food colouring

– Cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. 
– Beat together the eggs and vanilla and gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing thoroughly between each addition. 
– Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well until it forms a soft dough.  You will probably need to add more flour to get it to the point where the dough stops sticking enough to roll it out.  It will be chilled so don’t add too much flour, just enough to make it more of a dough
– Halve the dough, form each half into flatish discs and wrap each half in cling film. 
– Chill for at least 1 hour.  If not using freeze one half. 
– Meanwhile heat the oven to gas mark 4 and prepare two large baking trays. 
– Lightly flour a surface and rolling-pin and roll out one batch of the dough to a thickness of about 5mm.
– Cut out your chosen shapes and place on the prepared baking trays leaving a little space between each. 
– Bake for about 12 minutes until the edges are just turning golden brown.
– Take out and leave to cool completely on a rack. 
– To make the icing mix the icing sugar with a little lemon juice until a soft paste forms.  Divide up into whatever colours you want. 
– For more accurate icing it may be best to first pipe an outline round the biscuit with slightly more viscous icing then flood the inside with more liquid icing guiding it slightly with a toothpick to fill out to the edges.*  Alternatively you can just  carefully spoon icing over let any excess drip off to be cleaned up later or even use icing bags for the entire thing if more intricate patterns are required.  If doing this with kids I suggest buying a few tubes of writing icing and just letting rip, it’s much easier than trying to control errant icing bags.  After you’ve iced your biscuit add any other decorations you like before the icing sets. 
– Leave to set and then keep in an airtight container until needed. 

*This is what I did although I’ll certainly be considering ‘cheating’ and buying writing icing next time!

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