Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stained Glass Biscuits

My daughters and I made these, we had loads of fun even though the biscuits didn't turn out quite as we hoped.  I will try again later in the week to finely tune the recipe and hopefully the end result will be slightly less 'rustic'.

125g butter, softened

1/3 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup golden syrup

1 egg, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

clear boiled lollies, to decorate

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and golden syrup until pale and creamy. Add egg. Beat until well combined. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda over butter mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Divide in half. Press each piece into a 10cm diameter disc. Wrap in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper.

Place sweets in snap-lock bags, keeping colours separate. Wrap bags in tea towels. Place on a chopping board. Gently crush lollies with a mallet or rolling pin.

Roll out each piece of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Using Christmas themed biscuit cutters, cut shapes out of dough. Press leftover dough pieces together and repeat. Place biscuits on baking trays.

Cut little shapes out of centre of biscuits. Spoon crushed sweets into cut-out areas. Bake biscuits, 1 tray at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes or until sweets have melted and biscuits are light golden. Cool biscuits on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Gift in a Jar - Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix

The girls and I are starting to think about making inexpensive Christmas gifts.  My eldest thought of a gift idea for people who usually buy packet baking mixes or don't bake at all.  Why not give them a delicious Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix in a jar.

Ingredients for the jar:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup dark chocolate chunks

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 cup sugar

Make the mix

In a large jar, layer the flour, salt, and baking powder. Using a wide-mouth funnel makes this a little easier. Add cocoa and shake the jar just slightly to level the layer. Then add the dark chocolate chips then the walnuts or pecans. Put the 1 cup of sugar in a small food storage bag; seal or tie well then shape into a small enough shape to fit into top of jar.  Press the sugar bag into the top of the jar.

Directions for Gift Tag - Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

You will need:

115g/4oz butter,

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4.

Line a 8-inch (20cm) baking pan.

Take bag of sugar from the top of the jar and pour into a mixing bowl. Add 4 ounces of softened butter.  Beat until light, then beat in the two eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla until creamy.  Empty the rest of the jar into the mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are well moistened. Mixture will be stiff.  Spread brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until brownies are set. Cool in pan before cutting into squares.

Of course the jar can be decorated however you like, we add a wooden spoon tied on with ribbon.  You could decorate the outside of the jar with glass paints too for a more festive look.