Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

Hello! Apologies for not blogging since early October! How many slack of me. Truth is, it’s been an extremely busy last few months and the last thing I’ve felt like doing is blogging my evenings away. Excuses, excuses..I. know. I do wonder, sometimes, how all you other bloggers carry on with such momentum…it’s truly awesome.

I’m back though, with some festive treats over the next couple of weeks. First up is a delightful recipe, and something that truly reminds me of my childhood, and also rather fitting for this time of year. They make a perfect treat for your workmates, or just wrap in cellophane for a cheap, and easy gift.

This recipe is so unbelievably easy to prepare, using the food processor. The smell of gingerbread will be wafting through your kitchen within minutes!

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Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-3 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 150 grams butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Lollies to decorate (pebbles are great)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

This is the easy part! Sift flour, baking soda and ground ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add butter and rub in with fingertips or pulse in food processor until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and stir or pulse to mix. Ta da!

If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour to the mix and wrap in cling wrap. Likewise if a little too dry, add 1 tbsp of warm water. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

Roll out on lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes and place on tray. Form leftover dough into a ball and re-roll and repeat cutting out until all the dough is used up.

Bake the gingerbread cookies for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack.

Of course these cookies taste superb on their own, but if you’d like to get a little creative, make the icing by adding 11⁄2 tsp water to the icing sugar. Drop a small amount under each spot where you wish to place a lolly.

When you’re done, store the cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy.

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Whittaker’s White Chocolate Oreo Truffles

Okay, correct me if I’m wrong but is there *anything* better than oreo biscuits and cream cheese? ……………….hello?

Er, no. Didn’t think so.

The following recipe is the stuff that dreams are made of. Oreo cookie crumbs blended with cream cheese and covered with a white chocolate shell. They really are the very best-tasting truffles in the world

The first time I ever tried one of these; my mouth was watering for more.  I can assure you they are one of the yummiest things ever and so simple to make because there is absolutely no baking involved. Better yet, you only need three ingredients.

Happy truffle making!

Whittaker’s White Chocolate Oreo Truffles
Makes approximately 15 truffles

  • 250 grams cream cheese
  • 2 packets Oreo cookies
  • 1 block Whittaker’s White Chocolate
  • Optional – Dark Sante bar to drizzle

Crush the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor and place in medium bowl. If you don’t own a food processor, you can just as easily crush them in a plastic bag. Add the cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll truffle mixture into approximately 15 balls and place on a baking tray lined with paper. Refrigerate until firm, for about 1 hour.

Remove the balls from the fridge. Break up the block of white chocolate and melt in the microwave until smooth. Dip balls in chocolate and place on  a clean sheet of baking paper. If you like, you can  drizzle with a bit of melted dark chocolate to decorate.

Return truffles to the refrigerator and leave until firm and chocolate has set. Store the truffles, covered, until needed. Believe me they won’t last long – you have been warned.

This is also my entry for Sweet New Zealand. May is hosted by Jemma at Time for a Little Something. Head along to her page and check out all the entries at the end of the month.

Kiwi Chocolate Afghan Biscuits

Home-baked chocolate afghans are nothing new, or flash for that matter. However, they are particularly yummy and seem to go perfectly with a hot drink on a cold day (like today, if you’re in Wellington!). To me they really belong in that “comfort food” category, right next to the ANZAC biscuit…

Afghan cookies are chunky, crunchy and slightly crumbly. And just like the kiwi ANZAC biscuit, Afghans require only a handful of ingredients so they are very easy to make.

The biscuits on their own are not very sweet so the icing is definitely needed and unless you have some extreme allergy to nuts..don’t forget to decorate with a wee walnut. Alternatively you could sprinkle with coconut. Delicious.

Kiwi Chocolate Afghan Biscuits

  • 200 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cornflakes, crushed
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsps cocoa
  • 1-2 Tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and cocoa, stir thoroughly with the butter mixture until combined before stirring in the cornflakes.

Place heaped teaspoonfuls onto baking tray, squeeze mixture together gently if necessary then press lightly with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

Mix the icing sugar, butter and 1 Tbsp boiling water at a time until combined, adding more hot water if necessary until icing is a spreadable consistency. Ice biscuits and top with half a walnut. 

Gingerbread Men and Friends

I made this gingerbread men recipe a few months ago now though I remember it like it was yesterday. My flatmate even remembers. That night never ended, the kneading, the rolling, the cutting – this recipe seriously makes an unanticipated 100+ gingerbread men. Hence, I have renamed this recipe….Gingerbread men and friends.

It is interesting that the original recipe that which I am currently copying down is titled “Gingerbread Man” when in fact it not only produces man, but woman, girl, boy, cousin, sister, brother and friend..

I hadn’t made gingerbread men since I was a very young child so this recipe (although a little ambitious by myself due to the share number!) was an absolute delight to make. I’m sure I could have been more creative with the decorating had I more time.

Anyway, enjoy – I sure did, but I kind of recommend making these with children! Decorate them with red and green and they will make excellent little pre-Christmas gifts!

Gingerbread Men and Friends

  • 2 ½ cups of plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 125 grams of butter
  • ½ a cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the spices, golden syrup and flour, and mix to form a very smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic film, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until quite firm.

Here comes the fun part! Roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick paper to about 5mm thick. Grab your cutters! You can you pretty much anything you like – gingerbread man, star, Christmas tree, you name it! Cut out the shapes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake your little gingerbread men for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cake rack until well cooled.

Decorate to your heart’s content!

Chocolate Chip Biscuits with Apricots and Nuts

I borrowed this recipe from the wonderful HFG. I am addicted to their monthly publication but even more so, Healthy Food Guide online and their vast array of easy, low-cost healthy recipes!

When I first tried one of these cookies, they were so incredibly mouth-wateringly good and jam-packed full of nuts, apricots and dark chocolate! I almost couldn’t quite believe the recipe came from HFG – they were so moreish!

I thought this recipe was definitely worth sharing as most chocolate chip biscuits are so high in fat, it isn’t funny. I recently put together a birthday present/care package for a sibling and tucked a dozen or so of these bite-sized morsels inside too. I had word from the other end of the country that these were quite the favourite in their BOP-based household.

Although my wee photograph doesn’t quite give the recipe justice, you’ll have to just trust me on this one and make a batch for yourself. Play around a little and add all sorts of your favourite nuts and seeds. I personally love the combination of apricot and dark chocolate – only the best Whittaker’s chocolate will do!

Chocolate Chip Biscuits with Apricot and Nuts

  • 100 grams of margarine
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (I prefer dark)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I use a mixture of walnuts and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup of wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 cup of white flour
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Firstly, set the oven to 180 degrees. Cream the margarine and sugar together in a bowl until thick, light and creamy; add vanilla and mix through. Add chocolate chips, dried apricots and nuts and mix well. Add sifted flours, rolled oats and baking powder and mix until well combined.

Lightly spray a large oven tray with oil. Roll the crumbly mixture into balls – it’s quite a crumbly mixture but it will come together – and arrange on a tray, allowing space for mixture to spread. Press down with a fork, holding onto the sides of the ball to prevent it crumbling.

Cook for around 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top but still soft in the middle. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the tray before removing to a wire rack.

Old-Fashioned Lemony Shortbread

There is nothing quite like a good “bickie”. The old-fashioned Yo-Yo, Belgian or the famous Shrewsbury biscuit are a few of my favourites. I think it might be because they are all sandwich-style biscuits with a layer of cream or icing in between. Delicious!

So when I saw a recipe for these tangy lemony treats last week I knew I had to try them out. I also had a set of cookie cutters I was given that I could finally put to work (yay!).

These little biscuits are actually heavenly! They are soft, light and crumbly and require very few ingredients. I can almost guarantee that you have everything you need to make them. There is something nice about being able to make a batch of biscuits on the whim and with ingredients already in the cupboard!

I found these biscuits take a little bit more extra labour than your typical ANZAC or Afghan recipe but make up for time in flavour! I did somewhat make more work for myself, too, when I decided to make 40-odd wee miniature little stars rather than a dozen or so bigger ones but worked out really well. I quite like how the lemon zest is still quite visible once baked, though you could easily cut the zest up a wee bit smaller if so desired!

Old-fashioned lemony shortbread

  • 130g very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • extra icing sugar for dusting

Put butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until pale and creamy. Don’t rush this step. Sift together flour, cornflour and salt. With beaters running, add the dry ingredients in three lots. Add the lemon zest and beat until fully combined.Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Halve the dough and roll out the first portion on a lightly floured surface, or between sheets of baking paper, until about 5mm thick. Cut with a cookie cutter. If you want to, you can cut a small circle or shape out of every second biscuit if desired – like a Shrewsbury!

Place biscuits on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180° and cool on a wire rack. Repeat process with second portion of dough. Make sure your re-roll any scraps and cut again.

For the lemon icing:

Combine 50 grams of softened butter with 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest. Beat together with a few drops of boiling water to make a spreading consistency. Sandwich biscuits together with lemon curd or icing and dust with icing sugar!

Make sure you store these biscuits (though they are not likely to last terribly long!) in a sealed container! I thought this recipe could work really well as a small gift for friends or family. Christmas, after all, is just around the corner! Hmmm…

Bit of a poll this time round, what is your favourite biscuit of all time? A kiwi creation or otherwise!

Chocolate Chip Biscuits

I’m not very experienced at making biscuits, but I seem to have stumbled on something special with Mum’s Chocolate Chip Biscuits. Let’s face it, you really can’t go wrong with a recipe passed on from Mum. This biscuit recipe is very simple and quick to make and has proven to be a hit at midweek work morning teas, and is the perfect sweet treat to take on holiday! Yes – this recipe has been shared and shared again. I usually double the mixture if I am making for a large group, though they disappear just as quickly! The thing I like about a basic recipe is the ability to change it depending on your own tastes. Adding apricots, or chopped walnuts will only add to the deliciousness. I use  combination of the Signature Range dark and milk chocolate drops but any chocolate bits will do.

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Chocolate Chip Biscuits

  •  250g butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 can of condensed milk
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Whittaker’s chocolate (any kind – some of my favourites are white chocolate and raspberry or dark chocolate and orange!)

Preheat the oven to 180°, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar and condensed milk until light and fluffy. Stir in both the flours and a cup of chocolate bits. Mix together to form quite a wet dough – don’t be alarmed! Form heaped teaspoonfuls into small balls and place on baking trays. Press down with a fork.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes and I usually try and leave the biscuits to stand 10 minutes.

They will not be firm when you take them out of the oven. Leave them to sit on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool. A double mixture makes about 40 biscuits.