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Posts tagged ‘cookies’

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

Method

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

Ingredients
50g sugar

100g butter

150g plain flour

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

Method
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

Ingredients
250g SR Flour

250g butter

200g sugar

4 free range eggs

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

Method
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

Rose & Cardamom Biscuits

pict00132These two ingredients combined you will often see in Middle Eastern or Indian cuisine. I saw a recipe for an Indian Lassi (yoghurt flavoured drink) which used these ingredients and thought they might go well in a shortbread style biscuit. It took a few tries to get the combination of cardamom and rose water right and this is the final recipe which produces a light fragrance of both ingredients.  I enjoy them with a nice cup of  English tea, or perhaps a Turkish apple tea if you have access to it. 

Ingredients

  • 6 oz/170g Four
  • 4 oz/113g Butter (soften but not melted)
  • 2 oz/56g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds (pounded with mortar & pestel)

Method

  1. Dry cook cardamom seeds in the bottom of a pan for several minutes to release their fragrance, pound with a mortar & pestel to a powder. You can use already ground cardamom but grinding you own does give more fragrance.
  2. Preheat oven on bake (not fan bake) to 160 degrees centigrade and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  3. Sift flour into bowl.
  4. Add butter and rub into flour.
  5. Add sugar and keep rubbing ingredients together so it start to form bigger clumps.
  6. Before the dough comes together completely stir in the rose water and mix.
  7. Gently bring ingredients together to form dough. Do not over mix otherwise dough will become tough and biscuits will have a pastry texture instead of a shortbread texture.
  8. Lay dough onto a large piece of cling film and wrap dough. Once wrapped roll dough to form a cylinder shape about 2 inch diametre (this will be the size of the biscuit diametre before cooked).
  9. Put wrapped dough into fridge for 30 mintues.
  10. Once dough is firm, remove from fridge and slice 1/2 inch thick rounds and place onto prepared baking tray.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until a very light golden on edges.
  12. Cool on a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar once cool.

Lavender Strawberry Shortcake

pict00143This recipe uses the lavender shortbread from last weekends post to create a quick but creative dessert, that’s if you have any left of course! 

To make the shortbread, see lavender shortbread recipe below. 

 

 

 

Ingredients – makes 6-8

  • lavender shortbread biscuits
  • 150 ml whipping cream
  • 150 ml mascapone
  • 1 punnet/chip of strawberries 

Method

  • Place mascapone & cream in a bowl.
  • Whisk until thickened.
  • Hull and slice or quarter strawberries.
  • Place tablespoon of thickened cream mixture in the centre of one shortbread.
  • Arrange  as many strawberry pieces on top of cream mixture as you wish (or can manage!)
  • Place another shortbread biscuit on top.
  • Dust with icing sugar and garnish with lavender

I have not added sugar to the cream and mascapone mix as I find it sweet enough but if you would like it sweeter add a few teaspoons of sugar to the mix before you whip it.

Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations

pict00375

This is a wonderful way to decorate your Christmas tree over the festive season, although there is no guarantee they will last very long on the tree! You can also wrap them individually with cellophane so they will keep fresh longer.

My friend from Frankfurt introduced me to the tradition of making Lebkucken/Gingerbread biscuits at Christmas time many years ago and I have kept up the tradition even though we now live on opposite sides of the world.

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  2. Place flour and spice into a bowl.
  3. Melt butter, sugar & honey in a pan over a how heat until sugar has dissolved.
  4. 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.
  5. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the egg and kneed into dough.
  7. If the dough is too sticky then add some more flour.
  8. 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.
  9. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thick and cut out with Christmas cookie cutter shapes.
  10. Make a whole at the top of each cookie dough with a skewer or straw so you can thread ribbon once cooked.
  11. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place cookies with space around them as they will expand when cooking.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Remove from tray once cooled.
  14. Decorate as desired with icing.
  15. Thicker icing can be piped, see tree cookie in picture or dipped as in the angel cookie in picture. Have fun adding other decorations like silver balls, cherries, sugared sweets.
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