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Posts from the ‘Biscuits’ Category



It wouldn’t be Christmas without Lebkucken. Years living in Frankfurt fueled my addiction for these wonderful German spiced cookies. You can find a few varieties in the shops here in New Zealand but I decided to make a batch this year at our bakery to see if we could get the New Zealanders hooked too. We still have some in store if you are local and want to try them. And if they don’t all sell…I’ll just have to eat them all myself…oink oink


3 free range eggs
250g soft light brown sugar
250g ground hazelnuts (or a mix or ground hazelnuts and ground almonds)
•25g flaked almonds, crushed
100g candied peel, very finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons lebkucken spice
pinch of salt

For the glaze:

100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water

100g melted dark chocolate (optional)

Pre heat oven at 150C.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until thick and creamy.
Add the spices, ground hazelnuts, peel and combine.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe 4cm rounds  onto the paper, leaving space in between each biscuit as they will spread slightly. Makes approx 15. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before glazing with icing mix. You can add a squiggle of chocolate as in the picture of leave them plain.

Normally lebkuchen are baked onto small wafers but since we do not have them here I bake them straight onto baking paper.




We use this recipe all year round in the shop for making our gingerbread men biscuits but as it come closer to Christmas you’ll find us getting a little more creative. Making christmas trees, angels, stars and bells. It’s a nice crisp gingerbread that will last several weeks in a jar or tin, so you can make this one well ahead of Christmas. The recipe makes 16 large gingerbread men. Use your favorite Christmas cookie cutter shapes to create something more festive. Once cooled store them in an airtight container or have some fun decorating them with icing before store them away.


450g self raising flour
110g butter
1 tblsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
200g honey
200g castor sugar
1 large egg (beaten)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Place flour and spice into a bowl.
Melt butter, sugar & honey in a pan over a how heat until sugar has dissolved.
Add the honey mixture to the flour and spices, combine and leave to cool. Dough should come away from sides of bowl and form a ball.
Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the egg and kneed into dough.
If the dough is too sticky then add some more flour.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in fridge for at least 20 minutes (you can leave it over night). If you use the dough immediately it will swell more when baking and loose it’s cookie shape.
Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thick and cut out with Christmas cookie cutter shapes.
Make a whole at the top of each cookie dough with a skewer or straw so you can thread ribbon once cooked.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place cookies with space around them as they will expand when cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from tray once cooled.
Decorate as desired with icing.

New Years Eliesenlebkuchen & a gift of Pottery


Little slow of the mark with this one, lebkuchen would normally be baked pre Christmas and I would certainly have eaten my first one at the beginning of December the minute they arrived in the Frankfurt shops. I make a batch every year but have been a little busy baking Christmas cakes, trays of gingerbread, festive biscotti and panforte for the shop but no lebkuchen! In fact I had not even missed or thought about it until I read London Eats post about Eliesenlebkuchen. Christmas may have been and gone but I wasn’t going to wait a whole year to have lebkuchen, I blame you London Eats! A batch for a New Year celebration, perfect idea, the problem is we have almost finished them and I doubt they will make it into the New Year.

I had forgotten how truly special these biscuits are, the scent wafted through the house and I couldn’t even contain myself to wait for them to cool. Stuffing one in my mouth hot from the oven. Good? Yes, but much better if you wait for them to cool and glaze or dip them in chocolate. I haven’t written the recipe but offer you a link here, I did make a few changes due to available ingredients and how I remember them (see below).

Some of you may know that I am a bit of a vintage diva, owning a lot of 60s & 70s outfits. Well it doesn’t stop at clothes, I picked up the set of New Zealand Temuka pottery you see in the photo Christmas Eve at the Op Shop (Charity Shop) and wrapped them up and put them under the tree. A gift to me from me! The cups are the perfect flat white coffee size, just the right thing when you gift your hubby a coffee machine for Christmas ;o) The pot we can use for tea.

If you scroll below you will also see my latest vintage find that needs a little TLC , I’ll post pics of the chairs once pretty and complete.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations…. see you in 2014! xx

My changes to the Lebkuchen recipe

1. I had no bakers ammonia (hard to come by here) so I just skipped it. I was going to add a bit of baking soda instead but completely forgot and the results were still amazing. So don’t worry if you can’t get any.

2. I had lebkuchen spices which are better than mixed spice as they contain more spices (ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground coriander, ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground anise seed, ground star anise). Maybe make your own or add a few extra spices to the mixed spice. Here’s a link .

3. I also used ground hazelnut only which is how I remember having them.

4. I pipped mine onto bakers rice paper and glazed one side.

photo (13)

Christmas Mince Pie Pops

DSC_0009 (1)

As we hurtle towards Christmas I feel like a spectator on the sideline watching everyone in a frenzy of shopping, pre Christmas gatherings, work functions etc. I would normally take part, I love Christmas with it’s trees and decorations, carols, yummy treats and families coming together. This year has been different, I don’t seem to be able to muster the enthusiasm but instead just find myself bobbing along with the flow of things. It’s been an exhausting year, endless travel with quite a stressful and busy job. Making far too many people redundant as the business down sizes only to have my own employment in the balance next year. Keeping positive, perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time for a fresh start, time to do something else? So instead of revving up I find myself slowing down, putting my feet up, taking time out for a lazy surf and chilling at the beach. The Christmas menu hasn’t even been thought of but it will happen…no worries as we say here. Hardly a Christmas treat has graced my ovens let alone my blog (except for the 47 Christmas cakes I have baked and sold but that’s part of a business). As we prepare to kiss 2012 behind and relish new beginnings in 2013 I leave you with a small treat, Christmas Mince Pie Pops.

I first saw pie pops over at Linda’s beautiful blog Call Me Cupcake, only then to find I am so behind and they are common knowledge in other countries. They even have pie pop makers, oh my goodness which rock have I been hiding under! So here is my version of pie pops, filled with a sweet Christmas fruit mince and chocolate. You can use your favourite Christmas pie filling or try mine. My shortcrust pastry has a little more butter in it than the regular half fat to flour. A tip from a French chef I worked with. It guarantees a short crust but if you have ‘hot’ hands’ I recommend you use a food processor for the crumb rather than the old fashioned way. It’ll keep the butter from melting.

So hows your year been and what are you hoping for next year?

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season where ever you are and however you celebrate and I will see you back in 2013!

This is also my submission to our monthly Sweet New Zealand challenge which is hosted this month by Lydia over at Lydia Bakes where you will find a lot more Kiwi sweet treats.

Ingredients – makes 12

300g sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe here)

200g sweet mince pie filling (recipe here)

12 pop sticks (bake proof not plastic)


Pre heat oven to 180C

Roll pastry out to 1/2 cm thick

Using a cookie cutter approx 8cm diametre, cut out 24 pastry rings. Re-roll any bits and pieces to make more circles.

In half the circles cut out a star shape (or whatever mini cutter shape you have) for the lid of the pie.

Take the other half of the circles and place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre.

Wet the outer ring with a little water so the base and lid will stick together.

Lay the pop stick half way across the pie and fruit and press slightly into the pastry.

Place the lid on top of the pie and press the edges together, particularly around the pop stick so it will hold when baked.

Place on a 2 non stick trays and bale for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from tray when cooled. If any pie filling oozes out onto the tray loosen pie pop from tray before it cools so it doesn’t stick.


Spelt & Rye Spiced Biscuits

The smell of baked mixed spice wafting through the house is what truly defines Christmas for me, it takes me back to the years I lived in Frankfurt , the shops where full of the best every Christmas confections, biscuits and cakes. If I could transport myself there for a few days over Christmas I would visit the Weihnachtsmarkt with my good friend Petra, drink Gluewein by the Christmas tree and subject her to English carols with my cat warbles. We would eat sausages & sauerkraut and fill our bags with Lebkucken and marzipan treats, well I would anyway, Petra wouldn’t need to as she can pop them in her shopping bag anytime. Viel spass meine liebe freundin und trink eins fuer mich auf dem Markt!

But it is another friend who inspired me to bake spiced cookies in November, I had been chatting to Arfi of Homemades on Twitter about baking ammonium (hirschhornsaltz) used in Swedish spiced biscuits and where to buy the ingredient which doesn’t seem to be available here. All the talk of Christmas biscuits and spices had me longing for some goodies all day so I rushed home and put these together. I have used a combination of Spelt and Rye Flour, the Rye leaves little kernels in the mouth after the biscuit is gone which I love, a bit nutty. If you don’t like that texture then stick to all Spelt flour.

If anyone knows where we can buy Ammonium Carbonate, Bakers Ammonia in NZ  please let me know.

This is also my entry to our monthly blogging event Sweet NZ which is being hosted this month by Lucy over at The Kitchenmaid. Do pop over to her blog and see what she is up to as well as our Kiwi round up of sweet treats at teh end of the month.


150g butter

100g brown sugar

200g spelt

100 rye

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 ground cardamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp water

slivered almonds to garnish


Pre heat oven to 180C. You will need 3 baking trays.

Beat together the butter and brown with an electric mixer until creamy.

Add flour & spices to the butter mixture and mix until just combined (maybe a little crumbly).

To form the dough add the 2 tablespoons of water and knead dough together slightly

Flatten the dough and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

To roll the dough out lay the dough between two sheets of greeseproof paper and roll dough to approximately ‘cheese cracker’ thickness.

Refrigerate in sheet form for 10 minutes, it’s easier to cut chilled dough.

Cut out biscuits with your preferred cookie shape. I used mini circles which made about 45 and place the biscuit shapes onto a non stick baking tray.

Decorate with slivered almonds if you wish.

Bake biscuits for 10 minutes. The biscuits will be dark brown due to the spelt and rye flour.

Allow to cool.

The biscuits will keep for a week in an airtight container.

Microwave Lemon Curd, Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake, Lemon Shortbread Biscuits

My friend and neighbour asked her children to pop down into the garden to pick some lemons off their tree, keep them entertained while dinner was being prepared. I suppose the trick with young children is you need to be specify exactly how many lemons you want them to pick otherwise it turns into a game and they merrily pick away all the lemons within reach which is what happened and why I was the receiver of an armful of beautiful, thick skinned, very large juicy lemons. We use a lot of lemons and limes in a week but this was even a little too many for us in our every day cuisine so I decided to make lemon curd. When you lead a busy life and are permanently rushed for time, standing over a pot stirring and waiting for curd it to thicken could be hit and miss, if like me you are attempting to multitask at the same time.  I decided to give the microwave method a go and hoped I wouldn’t end up with lemony eggs as I wasn’t sold on the idea apart from the time factor. I was amazed how easy it was, with no scrambled egg in sight, as a result I will never toil over a stove again to make curd. The key is to cook the mixture in short bursts in the microwave and whisk in between every burst of cooking time. I normally treat my curd like gold and if you get a jar you are honored indeed when it takes so long to make I tend to hide it at the back of my cupboard but this method was so quick I gave all the jars of curd away with the same speed it was made, knowing I can whip up a batch any time.

Once you have a batch of lemon curd, the dessert table beckons you to bake, easy shortbread turns into delightfully special treats and the traditional Victoria Sandwich Cake becomes a little more royal.

This is also my submission for our monthly blogging event Sweet New Zealand which is being hosted by Sue over at Couscous and Consciousness

Microwave Lemon Curd

Ingredients -4 x 200ml jars

4 lemons, juice & zest

4 eggs

100g sugar

100g butter


Sterilise your jars & lids by boiling in water for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a plastic bowl, I use plastic because it doesn’t heat as much as glass or ceramic (less likely to get scrambled egg).

Add the butter to the bowl.

Place bowl in microwave on high for 1 minute , remove and whisk. The butter will only be partially melted.

Heat again for 1 minute in microwave, remove and whisk. If the butter has already melted and the liquid is getting warm start heating for 30 seconds bursts only and remove from microwave in between each 30 seocnds and whisk before heating again.

Once the lemon curd has thickened it is done. Pour into sterilized jars and seal with lid.

Lemon Curd Shortbread Biscuits – makes 12 minis

50g sugar

100g butter

150g plain flour

1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean

Pre-heat oven to 200C

Place sugar, flour, butter into a food processor and whiz them until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Then pulse slowly until the mixture comes to a dough, do not over mix at this stage.

Remove biscuit dough from the food processor and place between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper.

Roll the shortbread out to 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. With half of the biscuits cut out a smaller whole in the centre, I used a large piping nozzle. Re-roll the scraps of dough and cut out further biscuits until all the dough is used.

Place on a non stick baking tray with a little space between biscuits and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To serve, add a dollop of lemon curd to the base biscuit and top with a ‘wholy’ biscuit. Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for a week without their curd filling. I recommend adding the curd before you serve them.

Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake

250g SR Flour

250g butter

200g sugar

4 free range eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean

Preheat the oven to 180C

Butter and line with greaseproof paper the base and sides of 2 x 20cm cake tins

Place the butter, vanilla bean seeds or paste and sugar in a large bowl and beat or whisk together until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time  beating well between each addition.

Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air.

Spoon the mixture into the tins and smooth the top.

Bake cakes in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, do NOT be tempted to open the oven before this time is up as this sponge cake is sensitive and likely to sink if not fully cooked. Cake will be golden brown when cooked and spring back when touched.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before filling with lemon curd and whipped cream.

Filling & Assembly
Whip 300ml of whipping cream to soft peak

Spread 200ml of lemon curd over the base sponge and top with whipped cream

Place second sponge on top of cream and dust top with icing sugar

Vanilla Roasted Strawberries with Cinnamon Meringues & Thumbprint Shortbread Biscuits

You know it is strawberry season in our house, not by the abundance of strawberries in the fridge or fruit bowl but by the morning wake up call. As the season approaches the wake up call on hubby’s IPhone changes and sings out ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, by the Beatles. The strawberry fields are calling him back to work, spring is here and its time to sell these little ruby jewels into market. it’s also a little ironic that I am a Liverpudlian and he chooses a Beatles song. Do you have a favourite alarm call and does it change with your mood? When things have been a bit tough I have been known to have Lily Alan playing in the morning, her songs always make me laugh but also drive everyone bonkers all day singing them.

Continuing on with my roasted strawberry series from last week, here are two other recipes to use your roasted strawberries with. Serving them with cinnamon meringues and whipped cream is the perfect summer dessert or make a thumbprint biscuit a little more decadent, instead of using jam add a roasted strawberry to the biscuit after they are baked.

Cinnamon Meringues
3 Egg Whites
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Pre-heat oven to 120C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Place egg whites in a clean large bowl with a pinch of salt.
Whisk egg whites to soft peak.
Sift in icing sugar gradually while whisking.
Once the meringue is whisked to stiff, sprinkle the cinnamon over it in the bowl.
Taking a dessert spoon, scoop out a spoonful of meringue covered in some cinnamon and drop onto the lined baking tray.
Each scoop will have varying amounts of cinnamon but this adds to character.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. They should be crisp on the outside and soft/chewy in the centre.
Allow to cool and serve with cream & strawberries.
Store meringues in an airtight container.

Thumbprint Biscuits
2oz or 60g sugar
4oz or 120g butter
4oz or 120g plain flour
2 oz or 60g ground almonds
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean
Pre-heat oven to 200C
Place sugar, flour, butter, ground almonds into a food processor and whiz them until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and pulse slowly until the mixture comes to a dough, do not over mix at this stage.

Remove biscuit dough from the food processor and divide 12 equal portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and place onto a nonstick baking tray and pres the centre down with your thumb, almost all the way through.

At this stage you would add a blob of jam for thumbprint biscuits but I have baked mine naked so I can top them with strawberries.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Top each one with a roasted strawberry and some of the strawberry syrup from roasting.

Eat immediately otherwise the strawberries will make the biscuit soft. Store biscuits separate to strawberries if not eating them all at once!

Roasted Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup with Scones

Roasting fruit is the perfect cooking method that allows the fruit to retain it’s colour, shape and flavour. I always roast my rhubarb and making the strawberry tarte tatin last week I was wishing for more baked fruit but not necessarily in a pastry case. Jamie’s method of cooking fish ‘en papilotte – in a parcel’ came to mind and I decided this should give the strawberries the same texture and flavour as the tarts. I just use vanilla syrup to sweeten the strawberries slightly, if you don’t have syrup, use seeds from a vanilla bean or half a teaspoon vanilla paste and a tablespoon of sugar. It’s a great alternative to jam for your cream teas, less sugar and still the full aroma of the fresh strawberry.


1 chip/punnet strawberries (approx 12 small)

2 Tbsp vanilla syrup (I used Equagold)


Pre heat oven to 180C

Wash & hull the strawberries and place in a bowl with the vanilla syrup, toss the strawberries through the syrup.

Take enough greaseproof paper to make a parcel to hold your strawberries.

Place the strawberries on one half of the greaseproof paper with the vanilla syrup. Fold the other half over the strawberries and then fold the three open sides over twice to make a parcel. Click Here for a YouTube demo, it’s done a little differently and I make my parcel round the fruit but it gives you the idea.

Place strawberry filled parcel onto a baking tray and roast for 12 minutes. Strawberries should just start to soften but hold their shape still. Don’t over roast or you will end up with a ‘mush’.

Allow to cool and serve with scones and cream

Ingredients – scones

200g Self Raising Flour

50g butter

1 Tbsp icing sugar

150ml milk

Method for Scones
Preheat oven to 200C degrees centigrade.

Place flour, butter and sugar into a bowl.

Using your fingers, rub mixture together until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Or use a food processor.

Form a well in the centre of bread crumb mix and add the milk, kneed gently to form a soft dough.

Transfer scone dough onto a floured board and press the dough out with hands (rather than using a rolling pin) until it is about 2cm thick.

Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the scones or slice the scones, it should make 8

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If you tap the bottom of one they should sound hollow when cooked.

Brown Sugar Shortbread with Salted Caramel Rarotonga Side

Salted caramel has been around for ages but I seemed to have been one of the few ‘salted caramel virgins’ before being converted by some fellow food bloggers at our annual conference the other week. Mairi from Toast had been raving about Bohemia Chocolates and their salted caramels and when I tasted them I could see why. Then my room mate at the conference, Sue from Couscous and Consciousness and I were snacking on them with a cup of tea way into the late hours of the night after a full day of conference feasting. I was hooked, I couldn’t get them off my mind and then the day after the conference I flew to Rarotonga with not a salted caramel in sight and I so wanted to indulge in some more. When you can’t tame the voice in your head and the craving in your tummy there is only one thing to do, get into the kitchen bake. It was an interesting exercise baking a batch of cookies and caramel at the tropical beach hut with limited equipment, I have given my shortbread recipe below but have linked to David Lebovitz salted caramel recipe as I had to wing mine with no internet or suger thermometer! The only difference with David’s recipe and this is when you add the cream do not return the caramel back to the heat as you want a soft caramel rather than hard.

If you are going up to Rarotonga our favourite places to eat at this year where The Moorings, Muri for lunch, they make the best fresh fish sandwiches with great views of the lagoon. Le Bon Vivant, Avarua  an intimate bistro combining French flare with the local produce. The Atutaki crayfish gnocchi, smoked marlin croquettes or the parrot fish and risotto where so good we had to go back a second night. And the Tahitian, Avarua is always good for platters of marinated fish. It’s very rustic with its plastic chairs and tables and is BYO only but the platters are worth is for a casual lunch or dinner.

This is also my entry to our monthly Sweet New Zealand baking event, hosted this month by Alessandra Zecchini, If you pop over to her blog at the end of September you will find many tasty Kiwi treats.

Life’s a beach!


300g Plain flour

300g Butter, softened

100g soft brown sugar


Preheat oven on bake (not fan bake) to 160 degrees centigrade and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Sift flour into bowl and add the butter and sugar and rub into flour.

Kneed ingredients together to form a dough.Do not over kneed otherwise dough will become tough and biscuits will have a pastry texture instead of a shortbread texture.

Wrap dough and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before you roll it out.

On a floured surface roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut out biscuit shapes with cookie cutter or glass.

Place shortbread on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a very light golden on edges.
Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Espresso Melting Moment Cookies


I remember making melting moments or Viennese biscuits as a young apprentice, back in the day when they used to make us pipe the mixture into fancy shaped biscuits rather than roll and slice. I was a skinny 17 year old with muscles like ‘knots on cotton’ a piping bag the size of my arm and not a hope in hell of pushing that dough out of the end. I had a love hate relationship with these biscuits, loved to eat them but just couldn’t pipe them to the amusement of everyone else in the kitchen. How sensible I thought, arriving in NZ and finding these pretty biscuits made from the same dough but rolled, sliced and a nice pattern pressed with a fork instead.

The traditional recipe has been tweaked after reading Lucy’s post over at Kitchen Maid who is hosting We Should Cocoa event in June, founded by Choclette. To enter you have to make something chocolatey with Lucy’s choice of ingredient for the month, coffee. So here it is:

Ingredients Biscuits
175g butter, softened
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups plain four
1/2 cup corn four

Ingredients Filling
50g butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
50g 70% cocoa chocolate
1 tsp fine ground espresso powder

Preheat oven to 180C
To make the biscuit, cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Sift the flour, cocoa and corn flour into the butter mix.
Work ingredients together to form a dough.
Roll dough into a sausage shape then divide into 20.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on non stick tray then flatten balls slightly with a fork to make an imprint.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To make the filling, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once melted remove from boiler and add the butter, coffee grains and icing sugar. Allow mixture to cool and it will become firm enough to pipe or spread.
Sandwich two biscuits together with a spoonful of the filling.

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