As I mentioned earlier in the week, I have been experimenting with a new cookie recipe. As you can (hopefully) tell these spiced treacle cookies were a success! For some reason I had a real craving for baked goods containing treacle. No idea what inspired such a thing but I am a big fan of the stuff. It has such a deep and subtle sweetness but with a very distinctive flavour of its own, and it goes great with spices. They are pretty much a classic combination – think Christmas cake.
Using the base recipe from a cookie I’ve baked before I changed up a few elements to see how things would turn out. Firstly I created a buerre noisette – I’ve started referring to brown butter by it’s French name…one, to make it sound like I know what I’m on about, and two, because I’ve been told that brown butter doesn’t sound appetising…I don’t know what’s wrong with people, it sounds like all kinds of awesomeness to me.
Second change was to reduce the sugar slightly and replace it with the treacle. This allows the treacle flavour to really shine and make the cookies slightly less crunchy and liable to burning when baked.
Thirdly I added some spices, in two different ways. In to the cookie dough went cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and freshly grated nutmeg, along with a good pinch of salt. Then, once the cookies were formed I rolled them in a mixture of sugar, those same spices and some sea salt. The sea salt brings the treacle to life, I love it when you take a bite with a big salt flake – flavour heaven! The sugary coating also makes the cookies look pretty and sparkly once they leave the oven.
Originally I hadn’t planned to post about these. I found myself in a house without any biscuits, and I can only go so long drinking tea without a something sweet to crunch so baking was the answer to my problem. The thing is, they turned out so well that I really had to share the recipe, it would be cruel not too.
So, chocolate and almond cookies…firstly, they are baked up just the way cookies should be. Crispy at the edges, soft and chewy in the centre. Then to the tasty additions, rich dark chocolate and crunchy almonds. By roasting the almonds in the oven before adding them to the cookie dough they are super crunchy in the final biscuit. As I love the flavour of almond I thought I would kick it up a notch and add a few drops of almond extract (only a little as that stuff is hella powerful!). It was a great idea, the subtle almond flavour really adds an extra dimension to the flavour of these cookies. The obligatory sprinkle of sea salt atop these cookies just rounds the whole thing off perfectly.
I know, I know, they are just cookies but they really are delicious. (more…)
Is everyone excited to have a long weekend? It’s a lovely sunny day here in Inverness so fingers crossed that it lasts right through until Monday. As I am currently unemployed/building my empire a Monday holiday doesn’t quite have the significance it used to but still, when there are other people off it means I’ve got people to hang out with, go me!
So when I’m all alone and everyone else is being normal at work, I bake…and design my bakery website and advertising, photograph things, blog…I’m quite busy, honestly! It’s true that I have to remind myself to be busy at all times though. As a person who lives for a routine, living without one is tough. So I try and set myself some rules about when to get up, what to achieve per day, always remember to leave the house at least once! Lists. They are the way forward when you’re trying to keep a routine going.
But back to the baking. I was recently asked by Baking Mad to try out one of their recipes, and if I liked it, share it with my readers. I wasn’t aware of the Baking Mad website prior to the email but it’s really a great new resource for recipes. It’s especially good for the beginner as everything is explained clearly and simply. My favourite feature is the ‘Bake Mode’ option, which takes the recipe full screen with one step per page, with a note of the ingredients required for that step. Very handy. (more…)
Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has had a lovely relaxing weekend so far. My Saturday was unexpectedly full of my favourite things – family, friends and baking. After an abrupt end to my working day I found myself at home with a free afternoon which was quickly filled with a family gathering, baking for the gathering and then dinner with friends. So what started off a very bad day turned out to be pretty good.
I’d been desperate to try out the speckled egg technique for ages, so when I found myself at a bit of a loose end yesterday it was the perfect opportunity, and now I can’t wait to speckle everything! (Some pastel coloured Easter cookies will be make this week, I think.) Also I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll with macarons after last weeks success, and luckily my new found recipe didn’t let me down. (more…)
Today was a pretty exciting day for me. As you know, I gave up my job and moved back to Inverness last month. It was a big change but I’m settling in and starting to enjoy living up north again. That feeling in my stomach has gone. That one of constant worry, expectation, fear. It has been gradual but there is now a sense of relief that I’ve made a big change to my life which will hopefully lead to great things.
Today I took the first step towards those great things. The feeling in my stomach is now a little bit of anxiety but I think that is normal with any new job. It is for me anyway! I’m excited to be working as part of a Pastry Team, albeit for a trial period to begin with, but I’m going to work hard to get the most out of it as possible.
On the subject of learning, I’ve been trying to master macarons again. I’ve been hit or miss, the last attempt wasn’t great, but before that I made these delightful chocolate and peanut butter babies.
This time I stuck to a plain macaron mix, filled with different types of ganache, and others with shop bough dulche de leche. They were a success. So much so that I had to fight with my family to let the rest in the fridge overnight…and to be honest, after a few hours some had been eaten already! Light, sweet and chewy with a satisfying crunch just as you take a bite. Perfection. (more…)