Best Ever Anzac Biscuits

Or at least that’s what my bowl tells me…

Anzac Biscuits

And actually I’ve modified this recipe to make them even better.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to add so!much!sugar, so I normally reduce the cup of sugar to 3/4 of a cup (every little bit helps). And unless you like them extra crispy, cooking for 20 minutes in my oven is far far too long. At 160 degrees in a non-fan-forced oven, my biscuits take about 15 minutes (it’s about 12 minutes in a fan-forced oven). If you have two trays, set the time for 10 minutes, and then swap them over for the final five. You’ll notice that there are no directions for the size of the biscuit dough balls (gasp!). A generous dessert spoon of dough makes an approximately 1 inch ball,  which in turn makes a biscuit that is generous but not excessive (remember – you can always eat more than one!)

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits Anzac BIscuits

To be fair I am not such an Anzac Biscuit connoisseur to be able to define these as Best Ever. However I often have all the ingredients on hand, which means whipping up a batch for unexpected visitors is very quick and easy, and they never last long.

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Bread and Butter

No Knead Bread

So I’ve been making Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread most weekends for 6 or so weeks. I’m not actually sure that we’ve bought bread since I started making it. This weekend’s batch was pronounced the Best!Bread!Evah! by the BF, and I’m not sure if the superiority of this weekend’s loaf is down to some random variable, or the fact that this is first time I’ve use my (new!) digital scales to weigh out the ingredients by mass, rather than measure by volume ( e.g., 400 g of flour, rather than 3 cups). I guess I will have to make some next week and see if I can reproduce this weekend’s results…

Which brings me to the subject of butter. Ever since we ate the Best Butter Ever in France (purchased from some convenience store near our apartment, so nothing super special), I’ve be researching why butter here in Australia is… not the Best Butter Ever. I first wondered if it was the salt content – european butter is generally salt free. But even the unsalted butter here doesn’t have the sweetness of the butter we had in France. Then I found this article,  which explains that up to 10% of Australian butter is frozen, which turns rancid when mixed with fresh butter. Oddly enough this hasn’t stopped me from buying ‘normal’ butter for baking,  but I’ve been trialing more exotic butters for my bread. To date, Girgar Butter has been the best substitute, though still not 100% the same. There are a couple of specialty food places around that do stock the proper French cultured butter too. I’d like to try them,  although that requires planning and breaking my normal shopping routines.  (If only I could buy it online!!)

No Knead Bread  No Knead Bread

Mini Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecakes

Baked Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecakes

I made these mini chocolate and raspberry cheesecakes by adapting this slice recipe from Taste.com. The biscuit layer is made the same way, with a teaspoon or so of the mixture packed into the bottom of 24 cupcake liners (which I stood into mini cupcake trays).  I folded the chocolate into the cheesecake filling, but not the raspberries, and then dolloped the cheesecake filling into each cupcake liner, followed by a raspberry centred in the middle of each. You can make about 24 mini cheese cakes using half the mixture, which was enough for my entertaining purposes,  so I used the rest to make a slice in a loaf tin. The cupcakes took about half the baking time suggested, though I’d recommend you just keep checking them. It was delicious both ways 🙂

Easy Yoghurt Cake

Yoghurt Cake with Orange Icing

So yoghurt cake sounds a bit weird, but it’s actually quite tasty – and pretty light too.  And the best thing about this cake?  You don’t need any other measuring device other than a teaspoon!  Everything else it measured out with the pot of yoghurt you used.  I used a plain vanilla flavoured yoghurt in my cake,  but I think it would be interesting to make this cake with a pot of fruit yoghurt too.

Ingredients
1 pot of yoghurt (then use the pot to measure everything)
3 eggs
1 pot of sugar
3 pots of flour
1 pot of oil (or melted butter)
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together, spoon the mixture in to a greased and prepared cake tin, and bake around 20 min at 180°.

For the icing, I decided to go with orange flavoured icing, mixing icing sugar with a tiny bit of orange juice and the zest from an orange, which gave the cake a fresh edge.

Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons

Christmas/Hanukkah Gifts: Coconut Macaroons

So recently I was looking for a recipe that was +gluten free +dairy free +lowfat (sort of) +hanukkah-ish (if possible – or at least not too christmass-y) and, through the magic of googling, got interested in coconut macaroons. Now there are many coconut macaroon recipes out there, but in the end I decided on these chocolate dipped ones, as they really are just egg, coconut and sugar (and chocolate).  They are also very easy to make and YUM!

Christmas/Hanukkah Gifts: Coconut Macaroons

A few notes on the recipe:

I have never heard of sweetened shredded coconut, so just mixed in some icing sugar in addition to the granulated (castor) sugar, to taste.

The recipe somewhat jumps the shark toward the end,  by not giving the amount of chocolate required for melting and dipping, but instead including a chocolate ganache step which seems entirely unrelated to the rest of the recipe. I just melted what I thought was enough chocolate (~80-100g) for dipping, and then melted a bit more when it turned out I needed it.  For the record, I have no problem using a microwave for chocolate melting.

While the vanilla was nice, another recipe I have since misplaced suggested adding lemon rind, and I may well do that if I  make them again for a lemony kick.

Also?  I doubled the recipe and only ended up with about 4 extra macaroons compared to what the recipes says.  I assume mine were giant sized (they seemed ok to me…)

Chocolate Lime Cookies

Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime

So you know how oranges and chocolate goes well together? Turns out chocolate and lime does too! I only found this out whilst looking for a recipe that used cocoa nibs, and I stumbled upon this recipe from Garret McCord from Simply Recipes. They’re seriously good. As an aside, coca nibs are also seriously good, though a little unsettling to eat by themselves – they have the consistency of coffee beans with a serious chocolate flavour. I need to find more recipes for them.  As another aside, Simply Recipes is also a great recipe source – I’ve been reading their RSS feed as long as I’ve been reading RSS feeds!!!

Cue the food porn…

Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime

Choux Pastry (+ Gougere)

So I’m working through my food magazines – trying out and keeping recipes that I (we) like or otherwise chucking them (aka leaving them in the tea room for others to read). And because of this,  I decided to try choux pastry.  I’ve not ever attempted choux pastry before, but seemed ideal to try out for B*ke Cl*B*. But what does one make from choux pastry?  Well eclairs and profiteroles both come to mind, but I really wanted something savory as well as sweet.  Enter the Gougere.  Gougeres are (essentially) choux pastry with cheese stirred in. And, while my eclairs suffered from my piping,  but the gougere’s (dolloped using a spoon)  were excellent.

Ingredients:
150 g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter
250 mL cold water
4 eggs (I actually used 5 smallish eggs)

Recipe:
Sieve the flour, sugar and salt onto greaseproof paper.  Put the butter and water into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then quickly slide the flour off the paper and into the pan.  Stir well.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture off the heat until it forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan.  This should take just a few minutes.   Beat the eggs together in a bowl.  Still off the heat, beat the eggs into the mixture, a little at the time until smooth.  At first it will feel like the egg doesn’t want to amalgamate, but keep beating and it will eventually,  Keep beating until you have a paste that is thick and shiny (I added my 5th egg to make  sure it looked like a shiny paste).  The mixture should drop off the spoon when lightly tapped on the side of the pan..  Pip or spoon the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake at 200 deg C until golden brown.  Ecaires and small profiteroles take 20-25 minutes,.  Large buns take 30-35 mins. Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the underside of each bun to release any steam,   Set a side to cool on a wire rack.

I took about 1/2 the dough to pipe as eclairs (see right for my piping attempts) then I added 20-40 g swiss cheese (gruyere is the authentic cheese to use) and a pinch of powder to the rest of the pastry before spoonign out as buns.  Choux pastry requires a bit more arm work than (though at least different arm work – stirring rather than kneading),  but it is easy and produces very impressive results.  I am saving this recipe!

*I cannot talk about B*ke Cl*B.

 

EDIT 20/10/100: My most recent version this morning included ~75g of sharp vintage cheddar and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper sifted in with the flour.  NOM!