Do you celebrate Valentine’s day? I always have, but never in a big way. Last year when we were in lockdown I just cooked us a nice supper and made som heart shaped cookies with a yummy cream cheese frosting. Pink of course!
The cookies were quite fiddly to make, but really delicious, and the frosting recipe is now a go-to, courtesy of the brilliant Ina Garten.
Valentine’s Day cookies with cream cheese frosting
Mix wet ingredients with sugar using an electric whisk, then slowly add baking powder and flour. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough until quite thick, approx 3 mm, use a cookie cutter to shape hearts and carefully place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Bake for 5-7 minutes at 190C, until still pale and soft. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.
Mix together the ingredients for the icing using an electric whisk. Add a few drops of food colouring (I prefer the gel colours) to the frosting, mix well and spread onto the cooled cookies with a small spatula. Add sprinkles if using.
I kept the icing in a bowl covered with cling film for a few days, icing the cookies as we ate them so they wouldn’t soften.
These deliciously chewy chocolate biscuits happen to be gluten-free, and that’s why I decided to make them in the first place; for a friend who can’t have gluten, but as I suspected they were so lovely that I will keep making them for myself as well.
Because they don’t contain gluten-free flour they’re not a regular cookie made into a gluten-free version. Instead the technique is completely different using eggs and corn flour to bind a mixture of mainly melted chocolate. Yes, they’re THAT chocolate-y!
Gluten-free chocolate cookies with sea salt, makes 20-25
Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan. Melt the dark chocolate in a Bain Marie and leave to cool slightly. Whip the butter with electric beaters fir approx 2 minutes, then add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs; first one, then whisk and then the other and whisk. Mix corn flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add to the egg mixture. Add the melted chocolate. If the mixture feels too runny leave it to thicken for while. When the mixture is cool, add the white chocolate. Spoon out the mixture onto baking tray covered with parchment paper. Scatter with sea salt and bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Leave to cool. They are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Last week I baked for the office again after a little break over the summer. I made chewy meringues, Zuleika cake (recipe to follow) and these wonderful oat and raisin cookies. The recipe is courtesy of my mother who got it from a baker, so no wonder they’re good!
They are wonderfully crisp and the whole batch disappeared in a few hours, which certainly is proof that they are delicious.
Crispy oat and raisin cookies, makes about 40
200 g caster sugar
130 g plain flour
130 g oats
100 g raisins
220 g salted butter, softened
1 2/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Mix butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix flour, oats and bicarb separately and add to the butter mixture. Add the raisins and combine. Roll teaspoon sized balls and place with plenty of space in between on a lined baking tray. Bake until golden (approx 12 mins) at 175C. Leave to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container.
These little darlings were very popular in the office a little while ago when I brought them in. In Swedish the name of these translates to ‘dreams’, but I have no idea why, but they certainly are dreamily delicious…. 🙂
1 tsp baker’s ammonia / ammounium carbonate – this may be difficult to find in the UK supermarkets, but available on Amazon. It cannot be substituted in this recipe.
Beat butter and sugar pale and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and the oil and mix. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and roll the dough into balls, approx the size of a dessert spoon. Bake in 175C for 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray before moving them. Leave to cool completely then transfer to an airtight container.
A lot of my cooking inspiration comes from cookbooks, blogs and TV programs, but a lot also comes from necessity.
I live with flatmates which means that I haven’t got a lot of kitchen cupboard space so I try to use things up before buying something else. And it is actually a fun exercise to come up with something tasty with the ingredients you have at hand.
This recipe is an altered version of peanut butter cookies. I changed the peanut butter for almond butter as I had some I wanted to use up and because I had some chocolate I hand I threw that in too.
This turned out to be a nice combination as the almond butter is less pungent and a more mature flavour than peanut butter so it needed the addition of chocolate to make it interesting.
Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and almond butter. Whisk in the egg. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt and add it to the batter. Add the chopped chocolate and stir to combine. Roll the dough into small balls and place on a lined baking tray. Flatten the balls slightly with a fork. Bake in 190-200 degrees for 8-10 minutes.