Candy Cane Cut-Out Cookies

It was time for a post festive season clear out of the snack-shelf* and I came across the remnants of the candy canes. A little the worse for wear and held in shape only by their cellophane wrapping.
Most normal people would have just dumped them in the bin, but I’ve never in my life claimed to be normal so it was into the kitchen they came to be used in ….. something…. The something turned out to be cookies, not your ordinary cookies, but cut out cookies of course!

I have a nifty little cutter that cuts holes in the centre of your cookie shape, but if you dont have one all you need is one large ( 4-5 cm) and one small (2-3cm), which will do the job perfectly.

This is a great bake to do with small people it’s a lot of fun with tasty and good looking results. We got a little carried away ( I know, you’re stunned) and decided to colour our dough as well, this is not strictly necessary, but it is really pretty 🙂

If you don’t happen to have any candy canes kicking about in your kitchen then any kind of boiled sweet or hard candy will be fine.

This recipe should yield between 20-30 biscuits
*it started out as small persons snack box, but has gradually grown and taken over a whole pantry shelf. Oops.

Candy Cane Cut-Out Cookies

225g Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
150g Butter
75g Sugar
25g Icing Sugar
1 beaten Egg
5 Candy Canes ( or a handful of boiled sweets )

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cube the butter and rub into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir in then sift the icing sugar and mix well. Mix to a stiff dough with the beaten egg then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed well.

The next step is optional 🙂

Split the dough into 3 roughly equal parts and add a few drops of food colouring to each part and kneed until you get an even colour. ( it’s advisable to wear some gloves at this point unless you want technicolour hands for the rest of the day.

Place the dough into plastic bags and chill for at least 30 minutes.
roll out dough
Roll out your dough to between 1/4 and 1/2 cm thickness, cut your shapes and place onto greaseproof paper (VERY important not to bake them directly on the baking tray /cookie sheet).
place cookies on paper
Take your candy canes or boiled sweets and smash into small pieces, place a small piece of candy into the hole of each cookie.
place sweets in centreNow… you can of course reuse the ‘middle bits’ and re roll, or… you could place them along side and have lots of very cute tiny biscuits too 🙂
Place in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees and bake for between 10 and 15 minutes. Take them out as the cookie begins to brown and the candy is a bubbling liquid.
take out of oven
Leave then on the tray for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack as this will allow time for the candy to solidify.
cool on paper first
Once completely cooled store in an airtight container, or just eat them straight away!!

yummy cookies

Red nose Reindeer Biscuits

It’s become something of a tradition that I bake a batch of christmassy biscuits for small ones class just before the holidays and I saw these and thought they were perfect.

But I must begin with a confession.

This blog post features my 2nd attempt at these biscuits.

When I made the first batch they didn’t turn out so well.  I saw pictures posted on-line by the lovey Alex at Sugar Plum Patisserie and got over excited, grabbed the cookie dough that was languishing in the bottom of my fridge and started baking.

Well had I actually thought about it I would have realized that the dough in my fridge was far to soft and would totally lose any shape that I had moulded it in as soon as I put it in the oven, and the decorations would not stand up!
The results were tasty, but the look was … not quite as intended.
In the ever sobering words of small person “I like your biscuits mum, but why have you made them with big bushy eyebrows?”

Time for a second attempt.

Red Nose Reindeer Biscuits (mark 2)

For the sugar dough

sugar dough ingredients

400g Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
225g Butter
200g Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla essence

For the decoration

decorations
Chocolate chips
Salted pretzels (traditional knots snapped in half)
50g dark chocolates (melted)
Small red sweets (smarties, jelly sweets, foam strawberries. All are fine!)

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, add a teaspoon of flour with each egg to avoid curdling.

making the dough
Add the vanilla essence and beat well.
Sift the flour and baking powder and fold in gradually.
When the mixture comes together turn out onto a floured surface and kneed till smooth.

Dough!
Place the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for minimum of an hour.

Roll out your dough and cut into triangles.
Place the triangles on your baking sheet and pinch the top corners to make ear shapes.

pinch to make 'ears'

Bake at 170 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until just turning golden brown.

Now you have to work fast.

First take your pretzels (2 for each biscuit) and push them into the top of your biscuits to make the antlers. Then take chocolate chips and press into the biscuit to make the eyes. This must be done when the biscuit is still soft, or they will fall off when you move them.

pretzels and choc chips

Allow them to rest on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.

When the biscuits are completely cool, melt the chocolate and spread a small amount on the bottom of your triangle.

chocolate nose

While the chocolate is still warm press a red sweet into it, then allow the chocolate to harden completely.

Rudolph!
Not a bushy eyebrow in sight.

These are such a fun Christmas treat for kids and also great for kids to make with you.

I hope you enjoy them as much as small persons classmates did!

A Bientôt.

Oatmeal Apple Biscakes

Well I have to start this post with an apology. I’m sorry there has been such a gap between posts, we have suspended all but essential kitchen activity over the last week or so due to the appearance of a small battalion of hungry mice. The necessary upheaval has take quite a toll on my baking efforts ( that combined with a weekend trip to Barcelona to celebrate my best friends birthday has left little time to bake and post). The ‘squeaky situation’ is ongoing, but we are hopeful that our efforts will soon reap the required results.

So finally, it’s time for the recipe……

Whenever I make porridge I always make too much. With the best of intentions I pot up the remainder and pop it in the fridge intending to use it the very next day. I never do.

That said, this time I actually did.

I took a fancy for some thing biscuitty to go with my afternoon coffee, but there was nothing in the cupboard that fitted the bill so it was on with the apron.

Honey, Apple and Oatmeal Biscakes
(because they are not exactly biscuits and not exactly cakes)

250g of flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g of Butter
125g of Sugar
1 Egg ( beaten )
100g pre cooked Porridge
1 tbsp Clear Honey
1 Apple.
50g of Oats ( to roll biscuit dough in )
Mix together flour and baking powder then rub in the butter. ( It’s far easier and quicker to do this in a food processor ).

Stir in the sugar then add the beaten egg and mix well.

It’s now time to add your cold porridge to the mixture.

Now the debate rages ( in certain households of my acquaintance ) as to the perfect consistency for porridge and this is not a debate which I intend to enter into here. But what I will say is this ; Thick but pourable. If your your porridge is too wet you will need to add more dried oatmeal or your biscuit dough will be too runny, if it’s too dry your dough will not not be elastic enough so you will need to add a little milk.

Mix apples with the dough

Put a tablespoon of clear honey in a small bowl. Core, peel and finely dice your apple and add to the honey. Stir well to coat the apple pieces. Once this is done add the honey and apple to the dough and mix well.

Place the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

This is a very sticky dough so be prepared to get your hands dirty.

sprinkle with sugar

Roll dough into balls about the size of a cherry tomato then roll in dried oats. Place on baking tray and squish down with your hand to flatten them. Sprinkle the tops with white sugar.

Bake in a 170 degree oven for 12- 15 minutes until golden brown on the top. Leave them on the tray for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack until you can resist no more. 🙂

cool then eat!

A Bientôt