Saturday, December 22, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Soft Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

This year, more than I ever remember before, it seems my Christmas flavour is gingerbread. There was the mousse recipe I posted last week that I still need to try, then there are the gingerbread cupcakes that I m going to be making on Monday to take to our Christmas gathering, and then there are these little beauties.

I have mentioned before being part of the Queen Baking Club on Facebook. Each fortnight they put up a challenge for the members to make. This week, they put up two. The first was for a Chocolate Salami and the other was for these Soft Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. I made them for the sous chef to take for his team's morning tea and I ended up taking half. One of the reviews from my co workers was that these were the best thing I had ever taken in, which is a big call because I do take a lot of delicious baking into work.

Somewhere I saw that these are inspired by German Lebkuchen biscuits. There's a couple of other German recipes I am intending to try at some stage, most notably a Beesting cake.

I really want to be able to find this recipe next year so I am sharing it with all of you here too.

For this year though, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Soft Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

100g butter
½ cup (180g) honey
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 1/3 cup (200g) plain flour
¾ cup (75g) almond meal
¾ cup (75g) hazelnut meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup (110g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
150g milk chocolate


Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan forced). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine butter and honey in a large saucepan over a medium heat until butter has melted. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Add orange zest, Vanilla Bean Paste and egg to cooled honey mixture and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour honey mixture into flour mixture and mix to form a dough.

Roll heaped teaspoons into balls and place on prepared baking trays 5cm apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, allowing to cool on tray.

Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments in the microwave until melted. Dip face of cookies in melted chocolate then allow to set before serving.





Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Gingerbread Souffle

Recently I went to the Cake, Bake and Sweets Show that was held in Melbourne. It is kind of like the Good Food show but is just about the sweeter things in life.

Throughout the venue there were lots of vendors selling various gadgets and different types of chocolates, fudges and cakes, and there were plenty of tasting opportunities too.  We were very controlled and I only ended up buying one cookbook. I do kind of regret not buying one other, but that night we were also going to see Bon Jovi in concert so we couldn't really carry too much around with us all day and night.

The thing that makes these shows more than the gadgets and shopping though is the demonstrations. I think I said this last time I went to the Good Food Show, but I need to be more strategic about planning out the demonstrations I go to. We were working on our deck (more about that another time) in the morning so didn't end up going in until lunch time but if you planned your day better I am sure you could see multiple demonstrations and still see all the exhibits without too much difficulty

As it was I did see two demonstrations and picked up a couple of handy hints along the way. The first demonstration was by French patissier Eric Lanlard and the other was a chocolate demonstration by Jessica Pedemont.  The tip that I have used most since learning it related to piping bags. The first tip is that piping nozzle goes inside the piping bag. I had been putting it on the outside and hoping that the pressure would hold the tip in.  Who knew!

The other tip was about putting the nozzle in and then twisting the piping bag and almost tucking it in the nozzle which creates a lock. You then fill the bag, untwist it and then you are ready for piping and nothing has run out the end unexpectedly!  Simple but effective

Today I am going to share one of the recipes that was shared in the demonstration by Eric Lanlard who apparently has a British TV show called Glamour Puds, several cookbooks and a baking app available from his website. He made two recipes. The first was Gingerbread souffle, which is the recipe below, and the other recipe was a Jamaican Chocolate tart.

The demonstration was lots of fun. Plenty of banter, especially between Eric and the cameraman, lots of encouragement and tips were shared along the way, and the food looked amazing! A couple of the things that he mentioned were to never buy your chocolate from the baking aisle, but buy good quality chocolate from the confectionery aisle. The other thing he talked about was making your own pastry. He totally gave us permission to use shop bought puff and filo pastry but said that shortcrust pastry is totally doable. Not that I needed his permission but still.




So onto the recipe. Now admittedly Eric Lanlard is a professionally trained patissier so of course he makes things look easy, but this recipe really, really did look as though it is something that I could do, and if I can so can others!! He did say this is a recipe for small dinner party. It's not something you want to do for 20 people, but make it straight before you want to eat it. Get it out of the oven and take it to the table and wow your guests. And it is a perfect dessert for this time of the year with the spices making it feel very festive.

Gingerbread Souffle (Eric Lanlard)


50g (2oz) unsalted butter
135g (43/4oz) caster sugar
210g (71/4oz) dark or couverture chocolate
(70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dark rum
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated

To serve

vanilla custard or creme fraiche

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180.C (fan 160.C)/350.F/gas mark 4. Melt half the butter and use to brush the inside of eight small ramekins. Tip 25g (1oz) of the caster sugar into one ramekin and tap around the sides to lightly coat. Pour the excess into the next ramekin and repeat until all the ramekins are butter- and sugar-coated.

2. Melt the chocolate with the spices, rum, vanilla extract and remaining butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not touch the water). Stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and mix the egg yolks in one at a time.

3. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft, moist-looking peaks. Mix a little into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest, using a large metal spoon.

4. Divide the souffle mixture between the ramekins, spooning it in, and place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for exactly 11 minutes.

5. Serve with vanilla custard poured into the centre of each souffle

TIP

These souffl├ęs must be cooked just before eating; they will flatten within 2 minutes of being removed from the oven. Be careful not to open the oven during cooking, as this may prevent them from rising.



Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Cook books?


I recently was looking for a specific recipe and thought I would have a look through the cookbooks that I have on my shelf. I did think that, surely, at least one of them would have the recipe I wanted. It turned out that they didn't actually have exactly what I was looking for but the exercise did have me pondering a couple of things about cookbooks and what their current roles are in our cooking lives?

I wouldn't say I have a lot of cookbooks, maybe 50 or 60 or so, but I am always looking at buying more longingly.

When I looked at my shelves, there are a number from the mid 90s that I bought when I lived in the UK and that I bought back with me when I returned to Australia in late 1999. I can't remember what my thinking was in selecting which ones to bring back although it looks as though any chef whose name is either Ainsley or Delia was a criteria. I am not sure if they were books that I loved cooking from, or perhaps books that I didn't necessarily think I could get here easily. I do know that I left a lot behind though.

When I found the book above though I was surprised to see the tag line there of 'A new edition for the 1990s'

Currently my cookbooks are organised into two distinct groups. There are two shelves of cookbooks by Australian authors, and then another couple of shelves of overseas authors.

I do love looking through cookbooks, and often find inspiration to try new recipes as a result of this. I wonder if this makes cookbooks more glorified coffee table books rather than truly every day items. The truth is though that I get a couple of magazines each month and often these for trying new recipes. And if I am completely truthful, the reality is that most of the time these days I think of a recipe, or see it on a cooking show,  and then search for it online.

So how do you see the role of cookbooks in your kitchen? Has it changed over the years?

And the recipe that I was looking for? I really wanted to make some Viennese biscuits. Normally you can have these sandwiched together with jam but I really just wanted to make the biscuits and then dip them in chocolate and cover in sprinkles because I saw them done that way on Instagram. In the end though it was really hot here so my butter was too soft, I should have put the biscuits in the fridge before baking them so they spread everywhere, the biscuits were too soft to dip in chocolate so I had to just spoon the chocolate over. It was actually too hot for the chocolate to set. So, in the end it was a bit of a baking fail, but gee they tasted good. These were the last two and they are gone now!


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

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