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.

Lemon Cornflake Slice

Rules to live by #1: You can never ever have too many lemons. Add to that, raspberries, passionfruit and cream chesse. Okay, the rest are entirely optional…

If you’re a reader of my blog, you will know I’m rather passionate about recipes that use lemon juice, rind, or zest.

So, for all you lemon lovers out there, here is yet another recipe for lemon slice I found in the weekend. This one is slightly chewy, fruity and particularly moreish. It slices up really well and is very deserving of a big slab of thick lemony icing! No holding back here 🙂

Happy Friday!

Lemon Cornflake Slice
Makes 32 pieces

Base:

  • 100 g butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup white plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

Lemon icing:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a large saucepan melt butter, golden syrup and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients, and blend well.
Press the mixture into a greased 20cm x 30cm slice pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the slice has cooled to room temperature, ice.
For the icing, beat together butter and icing sugar until smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Spread over the base.
Slice up when the icing has set and store in an air-tight container.
This is my entry for Sweet New Zealand this month. Head along to The Kitchen Maid and check out all the super tasty entries on offer! Click here to enter!

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Just a quick one today! This chocolate mint cupcake recipe makes the ultimate cupcake for chocolate and mint lovers, like myself. If mint isn’t your thing then just ice with regular chocolate butter icing.

Yay! Today is the last day of work before we embark upon the 4-day Easter weekend. Gosh, isn’t the year is zipping by very quickly? It is now only 44 days until my big trip to Europe and the States – pretty exciting but so much to do before departure!

Have an egg-cellent long weekend everybody!

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Makes 12

For the cupcakes:

  • 125 grams of butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of trim milk
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teapsoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 a cup of trim milk

For the icing:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsps cocoa
  • 2 tbsps hot water
  • few drops of green food colouring
  • few drops of peppermint essence
Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and beat well until combined. Beat in the 1 cup of milk. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold in. Add vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda into the milk and add to the cake batter. Mix extremely well. Divide the mixture up between a 12-hole muffin pan.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes at about 180 degrees. Set aside until the cupcakes have completely cooled.
For the icing, blend together about 2 tbsp of butter with 2 cups of icing sugar. Add a small amount of cocoa and a few drops of green food colouring. If you want a brighter shade of green that isn’t chocolate peppermint flavoured, omit the cocoa.



Sour Cream Berry Cupcakes

Meet Ming. Ming makes cupcakes. Infact she makes cupcakes, cookies and savouries. I don’t know a lot else about Ming expect she is just an ordinary homebaker like you and I, who likes taking pictures of her baking.

What I do know is that I haven’t quite come across another baking site like hers that makes me drool quite as much as I do when I’m scrolling through this one. Her website is a documentation of a project to test, experiment and create new flavours of cupcakes and other delicious treats. Sounds like a perfect little life to me.

Although I discovered this wee beauty a while ago, I have only made this one so far and it sure is delicious! I definitely recommend.

On a side note, I finally got myself one of these! I can now decorate to my heart’s content and not worry about the little wee things getting squashed!

Sour Cream Berry Cupcakes
Makes 10

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 115 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups berries (fresh or frozen)

For the icing:

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and egg. Stir in the sour cream.  Add flour mixture.  Stir in the berries.  Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until it goes nice and smooth and creamy. Slowly mix in the icing sugar and blend it till it’s really well combined and then throw in the lemon rind and the vanilla essence and give it another couple of stirs. Ice the cupcakes once cooled and if you like, you can top with additional berries or decorate with some white chocolate.


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. 

Original Caramel Slice

Nothing beats a good caramel slice! Or so I’m told… As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there are many establishments in Wellington that really excel in this area. Astoria, Sweet’s Mother’s Kitchen…to name a few.

I’ve blogged a few times before with a couple of variations to the caramel slice:

Caramel Crunchy Slice & Baked Caramel and Chocolate Slice.

Both delicious in their own right but by no means, the original caramel slice. A short but oh so very sweet post to mark the end of January! Enjoy.

Caramel Slice

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 100g butter

For the filling:

  • 30g butter
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 400g can sweetened condensed milk

For the icing:

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa
  • 30g butter

Preheat oven to 180°C. Put aluminium foil in a shallow dish. To make base: Sift flours into a bowl, add coconut. Combine brown sugar and butterin a pan until sugar has dissolved. Add mixture to the flours and stir. Press into tin with back of spoon, bake for 10 mins or until brown.

Combine butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan. Stir for 10 mins until mixture boils and browns (watch it doesn’t burn on bottom). Pour over base and bake for 20 minutes. Although the original recipe didn’t say so, once the caramel is out of the oven place it in the fridge for 10-20 minutes. This will make the caramel solidify a little and makes icing it a little easier.

For the icing, combine the icing sugar, cocoa and melted butter in a bowl, stir until well combined. Spread over caramel filling.This slice is ridiculously more-ish so freeze it and take one piece out at a time or take it sttttrrrrraight outta the house! So good!

Ginger Slice

Ginger slice or crunch is such an old-fashioned New Zealand treat. I find it almost comforting. I grew up with it and it always filled an empty tin at home. Ginger slice was one of those things that my mother made a lot of when I was little.

The taste and smell of ginger was never a favourite of mine when I was younger – especially the crystalised kind! I have since dicovered it’s wonder and these days tend to enjoy that extra kick that ginger provides.

Ginger slice can vary considerably – a hard crispy base or a more of a softer, thicker one. I am more familiar with the softer base from Mum’s recipe, although this recipe actually came from Sanitariam. No matter the recipe, ginger slice is always best with lots of thick gooey icing.

I have decided to change this recipe a wee bit and make it that *little* bit healthier and slightly more chewy. Like my Muesli Slice recipe I added a bunch of leftover cereal packets to the base. I love the flavours that come through with the ginger. Apricots, berries…sometimes other.

I made this slice a lot in December as it is perfect for all the end-of-year morning teas and Christmas celebrations that go on at work and elsewhere. If someone in your family loves ginger, they would definitely love this slice. I’ve seen some recipes that include crystalised ginger in either the base or as a decoration on top of the icing – an idea if you want to make the slice a little spicier.

Ginger Slice

For the base:

  • 100 grams margarine
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • 1 ½ cups crushed Sanitarium Weet-Bix (or any leftover cereal)
  • ¾ cup white plain flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered ginger

 For the icing:

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 4 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons ginger
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a large saucepan melt margarine, golden syrup and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients, blending well.
 
Press into a greased 20cm x 30cm slice pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. While hot, mark into squares. Then ice once cool, with hot icing.
 
For the icing, place margarine and golden syrup into saucepan and melt. Blend in icing sugar and ginger, and pour over base, while still warm.
 
Such a simple recipe, but very delicious.