Baking · Biscuits · Cookies

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

I am not always the most patient person in the world. Some things don’t bother me. Transport delays don’t really bother me – I’m generally hideously early so it’s rare that a delay is ever a real problem.

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However, when it comes to baking I have no patience. And that is a real problem. Baking is all about patience – waiting for bread to rise, waiting for pies to cook, waiting for cakes to cool in preparation for icing. There is no short cut, you’ve got to let it happen at its own speed. And sadly that’s where I fall short.

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Cookies are generally a quick thing to make – a great thing to make after work when you just need a quick fix, right? Well sort of. These are very simple to make, but they do require patience. You have to wait for them to chill, bake and then cool. And you have to let these cool. It may take all your willpower to do this but it will be worth it.

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Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3oz plain flour
  • 1oz cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3oz caster sugar
  • 1oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 10ml kahlua
  • 1 3/4oz icing sugar

Instructions:

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together before stirring in the sugar. Rub the butter into the mixture using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Mix the egg and kahlua together and add to the butter and dry ingredients. Stir until a dough is formed – this will take MUCH longer than you think! It will come together though, so don’t feel the need to add any more liquid – it will make the mixture too loose. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Take walnut sized pieces of the mixture and roll into balls, and then cover with the icing sugar. Be generous as this will give  the cookies the lovely crispy sugar coating. Place the round cookies onto the baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until cracked on the top and firm to the touch. Cool the cookies before serving (if you can wait long enough!)

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Baking · Biscuits

Tranche Noix de Coco

French term for coconut biscuits. This recipe is taken from the patisserie textbook for Le Cordon Bleu and the biscuits are described as having  influences from Southeast Asia and India (due to the use of coconut), but the overall style is definitely French Classical regardless of the ingredients.

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It also includes several techniques including the  making of a sweet pastry and a Swiss meringue. However, the most stressful aspect had to be dipping the biscuits in chocolate – Oh my goodness. They just kept falling apart! However, even if they do, the end result still tastes good!

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Tranche Noix de Coco

Ingredients:

Sweet pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g icing sugar
  • Apricot (or Raspberry) jam, melted.

Swiss meringue:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 200g dessicated coconut
  • 15g plain flour
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 300g dark chocolate, melted.

Instructions:

Mix the powdered sugar and salt together and make a well. Add the softened butter to the centre of the well and start working the sugar into the butter with your fingers until the mixture is creamy. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg yolks and vanilla essence into the butter/sugar mix and beat to combine. Start adding the flour gradually until a smooth paste is formed, mixing to create a loose dough. Smear the dough away from yourself (against the side of the bowl) until no lumps are left in the mixture. Wrap the mixture in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.

Roll the dough out on a lined baking sheet, pricking all over with a fork and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 20 minutes (until just starting to turn golden brown). At this point, remove from the oven and spread with the melted fruit jam. Leave to cool and then brush with another layer of the jam. Reduce the oven to 130°C.

Make the Swiss meringue by placing the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and beat until the mixture is hot to the touch (about 55°C if you have a sugar thermometer). remove from the heat and continue whisking until cool. Mix the coconut, flour and vanilla essence and then fold into the meringue mixture, then spread onto the pastry base. Bake in the cooler oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, cut into bars or shapes and dip into the melted chocolate.

 

Baking · Biscuits

Apricot, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti Jenga

For those of you who have been watching the Great British Bake Off, you may remember the Millionaires shortbread Jenga puzzle created by Frances. Well, I had to get in on that! Also, jenga-stacking biscotti is far more difficult – I think I need some practice to make mine as neat as hers! Here is the result then – Jenga biscotti flavoured with apricots, almonds and white chocolate.

Apricot, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti

All of us have a favourite combination, one that we will return to time after time. Mine is the combination of apricots and almonds. My favourite treats used to be the apricot and almond crunchies from Thorntons (until they stopped making them – if anyone from Thorntons is reading this please bring them back!). Having both of the ingredients in my cupboard I knew therefore that part of my baking for his week would include this combination. I also wanted to try adding white chocolate to the mix, having seen many other recipes that have combined these ingredients (apparently) successfully.

However, whilst there are many different recipes around, none of them matched exactly to what I wanted. Layer cakes were out – when there are only two of you it becomes a little two much, and having made three different sets of cupcakes over the weeks, that idea was less popular as well (apparently you can have cupcake overkill – who knew?)

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Then it hit me. Biscotti. Perfect. They can be drunk with my tea, and be taken to work as a quick (albeit unhealthy) breakfast if needed. It was 7.36 in the evening, however Max wasn’t going to be home for a long time, so baking took over! This recipe creates a softer, more chewy biscotti, described by Max as being a cross between a scone and a shortbread, however if you wish it to be more traditionally crispy then by all means bake it for longer.

This recipe is taken from here

Apricot and Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 squares white chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Beat margarine and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs, chocolate, orange juice and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Stir in the almonds, white chocolate and dried apricots. Shape the dough into 2 logs and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove fom the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before placing on a chopping board and cutting each log into 16 slices. Place these slices flat on a baking sheet and bake for another 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool completely before enjoying with a large cup of coffee.