Back here I told you that I couldn't share much of what I was doing on Sunday as I was making a gift that had to go into the mail the next day and I knew the recipient might read my blog and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. What I should have said was that I spent most of the morning baking!
I thought I would introduce you to my best cookie making hint. You may have heard it before but if not it will save you so much time and mess. I learned this from my clever Canadian friend, Irene.
Once I have mixed up my cookies I scoop the mix into a wide shallow bowl. This works really well for just about any cookie mix, even those ones that you are supposed to put in the fridge till they set so that you can roll them out. If you want to roll them out then go ahead but I don't like to do that any more as it hurt my arthritic hands so I use this method! I have an ice-cream scoop - a small one- the bowl of it is about and inch and a quarter across. The hardest thing about this will be finding the scoop but good kitchenware shops should have them or should be able to tell you where to get one from.
This mix is for Confetti Cookies that I first saw here. With the recipe you are supposed to wrap the mix in glad wrap in a log shape - can't do that as it hurts my hands - and then stick it in the fridge. Instead I scrape the mix into my nice flattish bowl and use my scoop to drop delicious dollops onto my baking tray.
You can leave them like that of it you want prettier looking cookies you can gently roll them into balls at this stage. Easy!
And this is the end result! So, now I can show you the result of my morning's cooking. I made five different sorts of cookies as they had to appeal to a mixed audience - Mum and Dad and 4 gorgeous children So, first up - the above-mentioned Confetti Cookies. Click the link to the post where I first saw these if you want the recipe.
Then the old favourite - Chocolate Chip Cookies but with Easter coloured M&Ms instead of Chocolate Chips. The recipe is here.
This is a military family so of course I had to make ANZAC Biscuits!- recipe here
And Dad has spent time in Afghanistan as part of his service so I just had to make AFGHANS. These are one of my favourite biscuits. I just love the texture the cereal gives them. Of course, neither of my boys will eat them! Must be the addition of the healthy cereal and I didn't even tell them it was there! The recipe calls for the biscuits to be iced with chocolate icing and topped with nuts but that is not very school lunch box friendly so I topped them with a giant smartie (like a giant M&M only better of course!) which only serves to make them more kid friendly!
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups Corn Flakes
½ cup crushed Weetbix
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa, Corn Flakes and Weetbix. Mix well. Drop rounded teaspoons of mixture about 5cm (2”) apart on a greased tray. Flatten with a fork. Bake in a moderately slow oven about 15 minutes or until browned. Cool on trays. Spread biscuits with frosting and top with nuts.
Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
60g packaged cream cheese
2 tabsp Nutella
1 cup icing sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter and nutella until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in icing sugar.
And finally I made Butter Biscuits which are supposed to have vanilla flavouring but as the Confetti Cookies have vanilla flavouring I wanted these to be different so omitted the vanilla and added the rind of two oranges (expertly grated by my lovely hubby to save my hands) and topped each one with a Jaffa. That is a candy covered choc/orange candy for the un-initiated. You just can't beat the smell of freshly cooked orange cookies! And I also happen o know that one of the recipients enjoyed some Jaffas recently.
(FREEZER FRIENDLY DOUGH)
150g butter or margarine
¾ cup caster or brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teasp vanilla essence
1 ¾ cups plain flour
¼ cup custard powder
Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Fold in flour and custard powder until well combined. Use clean hands to forma dough and knead on lightly floured surface and shape into a log about 5cm in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap either place in the fridge for 30 minutes or freeze until required.
When ready to use, preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. Line baking sheet with paper. If frozen leave biscuit dough at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice into 5mm portions and arrange on tray. Press topping of choice into each biscuit. Alternatively pinch off a teaspoonful of mix and roll in 100s and 1000s. bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden. Cool on trays 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
This is what I ended up with - all the varieties bar the ANZACs are in here. As there was a little extra space in the rectangular box I put the tin in I wrapped the ANZACs in bubble wrap and added them in beside the tin.
I was off to the post office first thing so I could send them Express Post and I am pleased to say that they arrived at their destination safe and sound this morning!
Till next time.............happy stitching (or baking if the mood takes you!)