We are almost through the first week of the summer holidays, (how did that happen?!) and have been lucky with some gorgeous weather this week, so have been enjoying our days at the beach.
Last night I finished off the Christmas baking - well, I still have meringues to do! So thought I would share some of the recipes here:
Chocolate Peppermint Creams (Jo Seagar):
1 egg white
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 - 3 cups sifted icing sugar plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp peppermint essence
375g (1 packet) dark chocolate melts
5-6 mini candy canes for decorating
Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl. When slightly foaming, add the lemon juice, 2 cups icing sugar and the peppermint essence. The mixture will get too tough to mix with a spoon. At this stage start to knead the mixture and slowly incorporate the rest of the icing sugar until you have a firm mixture that looks like royal icing.
Roll out on a clean icing sugar dusted surface to 1.5cm thick. Using a 3cm round cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on to a tray to dry out a little. * I couldn't find a round cookie cutter, so actually ended up rolling the mixture into a 3cm round 'log' and slicing 1cm rounds off.
Gently melt the dark chocolate and dip the peppermints in. Using a chocolate dipping fork makes this easier. Drip off excess chocolate then turn out on to a sheet of non-stick baking paper to set. If desired, sprinkle the melted surface with crushed candy canes.
Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti (Donna Hay)
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, lighly beaten
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, orange rind, cranberries and pistachios and mix until a smooth dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and roll each portion into a 20cm-long log. Flatten slightly and place on lightly greased baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm. Set aside to cool completely.
Use a serrated knife to cut the logs into 3mm-thick slices and place the slices on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
Bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool on trays. Makes 80.
Raspberry and Lemon Shortbread fingers (Donna Hay)*
120g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
Place butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 4 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon rind and mix until just combined.
Step 1: Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and roll each portion out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to make 2x 16cm x 22cm rectangles, using a ruler to ensure the rectangles are the correct size. Place on trays and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until hard.
Step 2: Spread the jam over 1 rectangle and top with remaining rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for a further 1 hour or until very firm, which will make it easier to cut.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 180°C. Trim the edges of the dough and discard. Using a ruler as a guide, cut 1cm-thick slices and place on lightly greased baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving room to spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on trays. Makes 20.
* Donna Hay's recipe actually uses a sour cherry jam, but I just used what was in the pantry!