Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

With Easter fast approaching I decided to take advantage of the range of chocolate eggs available and bake with some. These Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are the perfect large cookie. Soft, chewy, buttery cookies with whole Smartie mini eggs baked into the batter.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies perfect for Easter sharing.

I am thoroughly enjoying the lead up to Easter this year. Last year I was unwell and in hospital over Easter, see Living With Seizures which really sucked. Now, although I still have seizures every day, at least I am at home, with my family.

Baking these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies is a great way to share with our children, nephews, nieces, family and friends. I love seeing the excited look of anticipation. What has mummy baked today. In spite of my health issues, it gives me real joy to see the pleasure a treat brings to someone else.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Watch out, these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are very tempting!

As well as these delicious cookies, Smartie mini eggs have also made there way into Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies so I am definitely feeling the mini egg love this Easter!

I absolutely love Cadburys mini eggs and may well have polished of a packet or three whilst in hospital last year! They will feature in a recipe I have planned, but the colours of the Smartie mini eggs really grabbed my attention. What I also love is that they keep their shape whilst baking, yet soften a little. This combination works beautifully in this cookie recipe.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies perfect for every Cookie Monster, including me!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am a self confessed Cookie Monster. I find no shame in admitting this. However, you should know this recipe makes 12 Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies. Absolutely perfect for cookie lovers like me!

These are most definitely not a one bite and they’re gone cookie. In fact I had one for my lunch today with a hot cup of tea and I have to say, I was one very happy bunny (see the Easter pun there 😉).

Obviously these are intended as a treat and that’s part of the reason I give so much of my baking away. It wouldn’t be very healthy if we ate all of every batch of say Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes that I bake.

So by sharing the love, I also share the calories, that are balanced out in our home with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies a delicious treat.

Recipe: Makes 12 Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

225g/8oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter- at room temperature

2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 Large Free Range Egg – plus

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Pinch of Salt

2 Packets Smartie Mini Eggs (2x100g)

Method: Preheat oven to 165C/150C fan, gas mark 3

  • Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl and whisk/beat for 5 minutes until pale and creamy – whisking for 5 minutes here and then after adding the eggs is very important to the finished texture of the cookie.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the eggs and continue whisking/beating for a further 5 minutes.
Smartie Monster Mini Egg Cookies
This is how light and fluffy the mixture should look now.
  • Sift in the flour, bicarb. and salt.
  • Add both packets of Smartie mini eggs
  • Fold all the ingredients together until you have uniform cookie dough.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of cookie dough onto baking parchment lined baking trays.
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookie dough mounds.
  • I place 4 scoops per baking tray as these cookies do spread.
  • With clean damp hands, use your fingers to press down and flatten the mounds.
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
These cookies are ready for the oven!
  • Place the cookies in the preheated oven and bake for exactly 15 minutes.
  • Once baked the cookies will be golden but still very soft. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the baking tray. The cookies harden on cooling.
  • When cold store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. There is no way that they ever last that long in our house!!
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

These Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are utterly irresistible and so satisfying to eat, due to their size.

They are sure to be a hit with whoever you share them with and once Easter has passed, I’m sure they would be perfect, made using the cookie dough, with Smarties added to them.

Do you have a favourite Easter recipe?

If you have enjoyed making these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies here are some more cookie recipes:

Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

Smartie Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Smartie Cherry Bakewell Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Walnut Fig Oat Cookies

Smartie Walnute Fig Cookies
Walnut Fig Cookies

If you make any of these, or my other recipes I’d love to know how you get on. Please leave a comment and/or post a photo on Twitter/Instagram? I love seeing your makes and bakes.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Easter.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

Also entered for the month of March Simply Eggcellent over at Belleau Kitchen

simply eggcellent linky

 

 

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Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins

Are mornings busy in your house? They certainly are here. I always ensure there is a good breakfast on offer as it is the most important meal of the day and today I am able to share these delicious Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins with you, my lovely readers.

BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins delicious warm with a glass of juice.

The recipe for these Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins was given to me by my very good friend Jackie Heaton, she is known as The Baking Nanna and honestly what she doesn’t know about baking, probably isn’t worth knowing!

These delicious muffins take under 30 minutes from start to baked. Absolutely perfect for weekend and holiday breakfast baking, or as I did today, make a batch, 5 minutes in the oven to warm through the next morning and breakfast is ready.

How easy is that!!!

BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins utterly delicious warm from the oven.

I met Jackie through Twitter and she is the embodiment of what the baking community are like. She is a wonderful encourager, shares her recipes, posts pictures of the most delicious cakes and is so much fun to be around.

This morning, when I baked these muffins, within the hour we had people on Twitter baking these delicious breakfast treats. Everyone had a slight variation, others were coming up with ideas for future bakes. It was honestly so much fun. We laughed, smiled, shared and most of all enjoyed the fact that these Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins had brought us all together.

If you are on Twitter, have a look at The Baking Nanna – @kuskus1. Her bakes will make your tummy grumble, inspire you and her sense of fun is contagious. All that know her, love her.

BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins fast food that is good for you!

I baked these muffins without cases (I couldn’t lay my hands on any white ones – it was early!!!), I was confident a quick spray with Wilton cake release and my British Bakeware muffin pan would be more than up to the non stick job in hand.

By all means use muffin cases, I probably will next time, just as soon as I can find my plain white ones!

As well as eating these warm, for breakfast, they also make a great addition to packed lunches and picnics. The Baking Nanna also puts them on the top of stews and casseroles aren’t they the same thing wrappers removed, in place of dumplings. I absolutely cannot wait to try that!

Recipe: Makes 12 Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins

4 Rashers Streaky Bacon – I used unsmoked, but the Baking Nanna recommends smoked

300g/11oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

100g/4oz Sharp Cheddar – grated

2 Large Free Range Eggs

200ml Whole or Semi Skimmed Milk

3tbsp Vegetable Oil

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6

  • Cook the bacon until it is just crispy. I used a skillet on the hob but you can grill or bake the bacon. Place on a plate to cool then chop into pieces.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • Add the chopped bacon, grated cheese and pinch of black pepper to the flour and stir through – dry ingredients.
  • In a jug measure the milk. Add the 2 eggs and vegetable oil and stir with a fork to combine – wet ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until everything just comes together.
  • Muffin batter is meant to be lumpy, if you over mix you will have tough muffins.
BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Lumpy batter makes the lightest muffins!
  • Scoop the muffin mixture into the cases/pan.
BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
These muffins are ready for the oven.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and firm to touch.
  • Once baked remove from the oven, immediately remove the muffins from the pan and place on a cooling rack.
BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins they smell as good as they look!

Such an easy recipe, that produces amazing muffins – you’ve got nuffin to lose!

These muffins are best eaten within 24 hours of being made. Store in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to one month. Fully defrost and reheat before eating.

BN Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins perfect for feasting on in the morning.

Thank you to The Baking Nanna for this delicious recipe. You can be sure there will be lots of variations being tested out. Watch this space.

Do you find mornings hectic?

Do you have a strategy for getting everyone up, feed and on their way?

If you love the idea of these Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins being a great way to grab breakfast on the go, take a look at these other ideas:

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks 

BN Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks – perfect for sustained energy release.

Hot Cross Buns 

BN Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns – good to grab and go.

Cherry Bakewell Waffles

AJ Cherry Bakewell Waffles
Cherry Bakewell Waffles

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to take some of the stress out of busy mornings.

Please tag me in on Twitter/Instagram? I love to see what you are baking and making.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

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Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

Gosh mornings are busy. So much to do, yet so little time. How are we supposed to make time for the most important meal of the day – breakfast? Well I have a solution right here for you my friends –  Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks perfect for breakfast on the go.

Breakfast, is just that – breaking the fast. Our bodies have just been starved for 6-7 hours (I’m being optimistic here), whilst we sleep. Eating a good breakfast helps kick our bodies into GO. If you are anything like me, I need a kick start in the morning!

That’s where these yummy Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks can help.

Packed full of good-for-you, slow release energy oats, one of these bars will keep you going until lunchtime. And, because it’s the morning and let’s face it eating anything can be a struggle, I threw in crunchy walnuts and chewy, slightly tart cranberries.

Yes there’s a squiggle of rich, dark chocolate on top of these beauties – it’s breakfast people, we need all the caffeine flavour we can get!!

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks the perfect start to your day.

The beauty of these flavour and texture packed bars is that you make them ahead.

Imagine this? It’s Sunday afternoon, you spend 15 minutes in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of these Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks and you have breakfast and snacks for the whole week.

Am I the only one who gets that mid afternoon dip around 3-4pm?

Thought not!

These bars also make a great mid afternoon snack and stop you grabbing for that chocolate bar/doughnut/cookie. We all know these give us an instant feel good sugar hit, only to slump in hunger again half an hour later. Why not wrap an extra one of these, in baking parchment and take it to work? It’ll keep those hunger pangs away until dinner time.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Wrap up one of the Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks and take it with you.

You can certainly mix up the fruit and nut element. Dried apricots with almonds, or dried figs with pecan nuts. Really the possibilities are endless, I would keep the weights the same, as the flapjack needs to hold together.

I have deliberately not used the word ‘healthy’ for these Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks, as I am aware of the sugar/butter content. I am not a nutritionist, although I would rather pop one of these bars into my daughter’s hand as she heads off for college, than have her grab a muffin or doughnut from a coffee shop!

Recipe: Make 16 Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

250g/10oz Unsalted Butter

100g/4oz Golden Syrup (light corn syrup)

125g/5oz Light Brown Sugar

325g/11.5oz Rolled Oats (not quick cook) I use Waitrose essential oats

150g/5oz Dried Cranberries

100g/4oz Chopped Walnuts

50g/2oz Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa is ideal)

Method: Preheat the oven to 180/165C fan oven.

Grease and line a 8″ x 11″ – 20cm x 28cm swiss roll tin/shallow baking tin, with butter and baking parchment.

Into a large bowl add the golden syrup.

Into a medium saucepan add the butter and sugar. Warm over a medium heat, stirring until melted.

Pour the melted butter/sugar mixture into the bowl containing the golden syrup. Stir continuously until combined.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Add the oats, cranberries and walnuts to the bowl.

Stir until all the oats, walnuts and cranberries are thoroughly coated in the melted butter/sugar.

Tip the mixture into the lined tin.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Press the mixture into the tin using the back of a metal spoon, so it is an even layer.

Place the tin into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the tin from the oven and allow the Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks to cool in the tin. The flapjacks will be very soft at this stage, but will harden on cooling.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
When the flapjacks are slightly warm, remove from the tin.

Using a sharp knife cut down the centre of the flapjacks. Then cut across the middle. Cut each quarter in half again. The flapjacks will still be slight soft.

Leave the flapjacks on the baking parchment to continue cooling and setting.

Once the Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks are completely cooled they can be drizzled with chocolate.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl, in the microwave, using 30 second bursts. Stir well and when the chocolate is nearly melted keep stirring and the inherent heat will melt any solid pieces left.

You can use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the flapjacks or pour the chocolate into a disposable icing bag, snip the corner off and pipe the chocolate onto the flapjacks.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Chocolate drizzled Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

Allow the chocolate to set and then store in a tin.

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Store layered with baking parchment in a tin.

These Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks are perfect anytime of day, but they are especially handy to have, when time for breakfast disappears in the morning. Just grab one and eat on the go!

An added bonus, which does rely on checking the packaging, is that oats are gluten free. So even more people can enjoy a delicious, easy breakfast.

Do your work colleagues miss breakfast? Try making these Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks and taking them to work. You may just make someone smile!

If you enjoyed these Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks then try these:

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars

Lemon Bars Cranberry walnut flapjack
Oat Topped Lemon Bars

Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

Apricot Oat Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks
Apricot Oat Crumble Cookies

Sammie xx

 

 

 

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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Hello there everybody. I really appreciate you taking time to read my blog. Thank you. I hope it inspires & encourages you, makes you think and most of all makes you smile!!!
So this week in our house is all about birthdays!!!!!
Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my sister & Dad’s birthday in the same week!!!
Definitely time for ‘FEASTING, CELEBRATING and FUN’!!!!!
Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!
Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having! His enthusiasm & passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!!!!
Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!!!!!
I adore his passion & zest for life (even if at times it can be exhausting & overwhelming!!!!!).
Soo to make life a bit easier on myself today: I grabbed a previously, made & frozen, chicken & bacon pasta bake from the freezer last night & left it to defrost in the fridge overnight ( and yes – I did feel a tiny little bit smug!!!).
Then, because I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), sooo much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC and ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  And because I’m a nice person & the recipe is a dream, I thought I’d share it with you!

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 220C (200C Fan Oven)

Recipe:

1lb Strong Plain White Flour

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

1 tsp Salt – for bread mix

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method:

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast & swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil & salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary & salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife (please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic – just be happy that you’re unique!!).
Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together & work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily & feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.
Shape the dough into a ball & place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin) & then using your fingers (I like the squishy feeling – whilst also getting a cuticle treatment: multi tasking. Genius!!!) or using a piece of kitchen towel to completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands & nails & may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment!!! Just saying, I NEED the treatment!!!!
If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles & gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread (if you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do – you’re going to LOVE this next bit!!!!!!).
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin & is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part. Sooo much fun!!!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, (I use Maldon), the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper & the rest of the garlic (split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves).
Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp – when you lay your cling film over the top it will lay flat & not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, random kitchen objects!! You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling (using your hands – my fav, a pastry brush or some oil poured onto the cling & spread with kitchen paper).
I KNOW there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!!!
Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but – and it’s happened to me – it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) & leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size – OR – place the dough in the fridge, it will take longer to rise & the bread will develop a lovely flavour. It’s your dough – do whatever you fancy.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size, then knocked it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise & it’s turned out fine!!!!
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 mins (longer if baking a one loaf), until a golden colour & still quite soft.
Remove from oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating, leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out & place onto a cooling rack, repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil & freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 mins, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.
This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek & potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One focaccia is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil & freeze the other one.
A final VERY BIG THANK YOU to those of you who have looked at this post whilst it was unfinished. I’m sorry it took a while, but hope the finished blog was worth it.
THIS REALLY IS ONE OF THE EASIEST AND MOST IMPRESSIVE BREADS TO MAKE.
I really hope you give it a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano & SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs!!!!
Ooh I’m such a rebel!! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Soft herbs I find are better mixed with butter & oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.
See you soon. Sammie xx

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Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Hello again. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, I hope you are enjoying my thoughts & recipes too? Please leave a comment if you try any? I’d love to hear how you got on. So let me bring you my Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Today’s the day…..all the children back at school. My mind is buzzing with all the possibilities that today holds! All the things I put off during the summer hols to spend time with our 11, 13 & 15 year old children.

I love having them home, they all get along pretty well (not bad for 2 older girls & my boy!) & I shall miss their music/chatter/mess… Well maybe not the mess. But they do fill our home with energy & fun. Still tomorrow is the weekend, so today I shall enjoy the peace knowing chaos is only a day away.

Hmmm there’s jam to be made, not really in the mood for that, tidying – but it’ll only need doing again on Monday!! Cookies! I have nothing really against shop bought biccies but you really can’t beat homemade & these are a doddle!!

SUPER EASY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

You will need :

2 x baking sheets with parchment paper on them.

Cling film (I’ll explain later!)

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature : it really makes a difference.

Recipe:

5 oz Caster Sugar (plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top)

8 oz Unsalted Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Paste, or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Salt (I use Kosher Salt)

1 Egg Yolk (I use large free range eggs

8 oz Plain White Flour

2 oz Corn Starch

Method:

Place butter & 5 oz sugar into a bowl (if using stand mixer use the paddle attachment). The next part is going to be much easier (but not impossible!) if you have an electric mixer, or stand mixer. Whisk or beat (using a wooden spoon) until the mixture is very pale yellow. Now mix in the egg yolk & vanilla paste/extract. Sift in the flour, salt & corn starch. Mix thoroughly, but gently until all the ingredients are combined. Now take a big, deep breath. The smell is scrummy & will help you recognise later when the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies are nearly cooked!

Set the mixture to one side so that you have a clear work top in front of you. You will need a clear 2 ft of space in front of you. Wipe this space with a clean, slightly wet, dish cloth. Taking the clung film unwrap about 12 inches, laying it over the damp work surface as you do so. Magically the cling will lay flat & not become a tangled mess!!!!

Place half of your cookie dough on the cling film in a rough log shape. Using your hands & the cling mould the dough into a log, with a diameter of approx 1 1/2″. Wrap tightly making sure the cookie dough is as even as possible along the log.

Dump half the dough out onto the cling film...
Dump half the dough out onto the cling film…
Using the sides of the cling, alternately shape into a rough log...
Using the sides of the cling, alternately shape into a rough log…

Carefully transfer this to the fridge laying it on a flat surface (the dough will still be quite squishy – I usually lay it lengthways across my palm!). Repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Leave the dough to rest & harden up for at least 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C (165C fan oven) just before you remove the cookie dough log from the fridge.

Remove 1 log from the fridge & leave to warm slightly for 5 minutes (I find leaving it for this time makes the dough easier to cut & not crack!). Using a sharp knife cut regular discs approx 1/4″ (1/2cm) wide. You should end up with 6-10 cookie discs. Place these on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, making sure there is at least 1″ gap each way between the discs.

Cut the through the dough log with a sharp knife - don't make the slices too thin as the cookies will spread on baking.
Cut the through the dough log with a sharp knife – don’t make the slices too thin as the cookies will spread on baking.

Sprinkle each cookie with a little sugar,  reserving half of the sugar for a final sprinkle over the shortbread cookies once they are baked.

I can only fit 2 baking sheets in my domestic oven & leave the other dough log in the fridge, tightly wrapped for up to 4 days. The logs can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of cling film for up to one month.

Bake the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies for 8-15 minutes (it really does depend on how thick you have cut the discs & your oven).

When you start to smell the scrumptious buttery, vanilla smell it’s time to check on your cookies. DON’T PROD THEM – however tempting!!!! They will still be soft & firm up on cooling. These cookies are cooked when they turn a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, careful they are hot!

Leaving the cookies on the baking tray give them a final sprinkle of sugar & leave to cool completely.   Once cool place in an air tight container (I use a large, clip lid Kilner jar, as the sugar makes them sparkly & I like to show them off!!!!!). If you can wait they actually taste better the next day – but who am I kidding?

Yummy - someone put the kettle on? Now where's Polly when you need her?????
Yummy – someone put the kettle on? Now where’s Polly when you need her????? Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Pop the kettle on & try one, just to make sure they’re ok!!!    These cookies travel well & I like to pop some in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon & pass them onto friends & family. They are also scrummy when shared with a close friend over a cuppa & a heart to heart.

REMEMBER FOOD ALWAYS TASTES BETTER WHEN ITS SHARED!

For lemon shortbread add 1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest to the sugar/butter mixture. I only use Vanilla Extract NOT paste when I make lemon shortbread – I find the vanilla bean paste competes with the lemon flavour. Mix, prepare dough logs, bake & store as above.
JUST A QUICK NOTE: I have found that, when I want to bake some more Super Easy Shortbread Cookies, it’s better to remove the dough log from the fridge 15-30mins (depending how warm the air is. After letting them warm slightly not only are they much easier to slice ( a small serrated knife is good for this), but they are also much less prone to cracking, splitting, falling apart, than if you try to cut them when they are fridge cold!!! I learnt the hard way!!!!

Until next time happy baking & have fun feasting.

Sammie x

 

 

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