Monday, July 2, 2018

Easy Anzac Biscuits. Eggless Oats & Coconut Cookies(With video)




Cookies with coconut make me nostalgic. No no, my mother or grandmother never baked in their lives! I loved those cookies we would buy at a nearby store. Thick, sweet and satisfying. And then later Anzac cookies made an appearance. Those rugged looking oats and coconut cookies popular in New Zealand and Australia. 

These apparently were sent to soldiers by their families during World War One as they were quite sturdy and kept well for days. Thankfully we don't have to suffer ' super sturdy' Anzacs anymore. We can have some really good crunchy and light ones which happen to keep well and travel well too, thanks to Alice Medrich, one of my top favorite authors!




The ingredients are not hard to source, the dough comes together in no time. She gives the option of using either golden syrup or honey making it sound absolutely fine to use the latter,not a second choice. I love golden syrup,but not easy to find it always,so honey it was!

 As in a lot of her recipes for cookies, you will need to be patient and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight. And then you will be rewarded with some really flavorful cookies. If you bake regularly, you probably have most ingredients at home, so do absolutely try these cookies,you will be glad you did!




Ingredients. Quick Cooking Oats or Rolled Oats( I use quick cooking, Quaker) - 98 grams Unsalted butter,very soft - 113 grams Sugar - 150 grams Water - 1 tablespoon / 15 ml Honey or golden syrup - 2 tablespoons / 30 ml Maida /All purpose flour - 126 grams Cream of tartar 1 teaspoon Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon Unsweetened dried shredded coconut - 85 gram / 1 cup

Method

1. Pulse the oats in the smallest jar of your processor for a few seconds.You want them coarsely ground but not powdered.

2. Sift together the flour,baking soda and cream of tartar. Whisk in the coconut and oats.Keep aside.

3. Take the butter, honey or golden syrup,sugar and water in a saucepan. Warm on low heat until the butter melts. Take it off the heat.

4. Stir in the flour mixture,mix until well incorporated. This will make a soft dough. Put it on cling film and form two 8''x 2'' logs.

5. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

6. When ready to bake, line your cookie sheet with baking parchment.Preheat oven to 160C.

7.Slice the dough into 1/4'' thick slices.Place the cookies at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes or until a light golden brown all over.

8. Lift the parchment with the cookies on to the cooling rack. Then transfer the cookies to the rack,cool completely and store air tight. These keep well for at least 2 weeks says Alice.

Make these soon,am sure you will love baking and sending them to family and friends!\\












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Monday, May 14, 2018

Easy Eggless Butter Cookies with 50% Atta!


Egg-free, buttery, easy, 50% whole wheat and adaptable! What's not to love about these tender-crisp delicious cookies? The dough for these cookies is made in just 2 minutes in the KItchenAid stand mixer! 

I absolutely adore Alice Medrich's recipes and and have had success with so many. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies* is one of her books I use ever so often! With this book, you can fill your cookie jar with different cookies every time.

This recipe is from the section for melt-in-your-mouth cookies. One of the surprising revelations here is her method of making butter cookies. While most recipes call for creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, she tells you not to! So what according to her does it take to produce good cookies? 

Alice recommends mixing the butter and sugar only until  it is smooth and creamy as this will make the cookies crisp and tender. We do not want to beat the sugar and butter until fluffy as she says the cookies may turn out dry and coarse. Don't I love her even more as this makes the job easier for the baker!



This recipe for French butter cookies is from Alice Medrich, they are called Sable cookies or Sables as they have a delicate sandy texture.
This is an extremely simple recipe with just 3 ingredients, butter,sugar and flour. If you don’t count the salt and vanilla that is. In recipes like this,it is all the more important to use fresh good quality ingredients for best results. Again, details make all the difference,so please watch the video carefully.  




Please weigh the ingredients carefully and line them up on the counter before beginning the mixing process. 

Ingredients

Whole wheat flour / Atta - 112 grams
Plain flour / Maida - 126 grams
Unsalted butter, at room temperature - 198 grams 
Caster Sugar - 100 grams / 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

Method: 

  • Fit your stand mixer* with the paddle attachment. 
  • Whisk together the whole wheat flour and plain flour thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Take the butter, salt , sugar and vanilla in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat them until smooth and creamy(not light and fluffy)You can also do this with a wooden spoon but making it in the stand mixer is easier and effortless. I mix on speed 4 for about a minute.
  • Add in the flours and mix just until incorporated. This is very important as over mixing will make the cookies tough instead of tender.
  • Scrape the dough on the counter, bring it together. If necessary knead lightly to make sure the flour is completely incorporated. 
  • Divide the dough into 2 parts,place on cling film and form into logs. 
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or even better overnight. This rest is very important as the dough absorbs the moisture and flavors better. Do not skip this step.
  • The dough will firm up quite a bit after overnight refrigeration,it will be easier to slice.
  • When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 180 C / 350 F.  Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil, dull side facing up. Do not grease. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the cold dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  • Place the cookies at least 1.5 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes or until the edges turn a light golden brown.(If using an OTG, rotate trays half-way through)
  • Once done, lift the foil(with the cookies) and place on a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before storing airtight. 
I love these cookies when they have just cooled. Alice says you can store the cookies for a month. 



Variations:

You can try different flavors, but I loved  the plain vanilla ones the best!

  • Add 1/3 cup(1.33 oz) roasted cacao nibs with or without 1 cup chopped raw or toasted nuts to the creamed butter and sugar
  • Add 1 teaspoon crushed saffron strands or powder and 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom, 1 cup toasted and chopped pistachios.
  • Get imaginative with the combinations of nuts,hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew,pecans,sesame seeds with your fav spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, anything!
Do absolutely try these cookies, this will be a great basic butter cookie dough to have in your repertoire!

DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I recommend products which I have used and found good or products I would consider for myself based on recommendations from my trusted baker friends. There will not be any extra cost to you. This commission will help me with me costs of running the channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Gougères / French Cheese Puffs - KitchenAid Stand Mixer Series





Gougères or less fancily put, French Cheese Puffs are delicious little bites you could serve warm on their own or with wine. You could also split them and sandwich with your favorite filling. Either way, if cheesy, eggy is your kind of thing, you will love these! All the more, if you make these in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer as it takes care of the hard work for you!

Choux pastry is one of those amazing versatile things you can play around with, sweet or savory like these Cream Puffs and Creamed Corn In Savory Choux PuffsThe baked puffs are best eaten fresh and warm from the oven, but you can re-crisp them if needed. You can also pipe the dough and then bake later when needed( I have not tried that yet) 




It is not really difficult to make choux pastry, but yes, needs to done carefully for best results. You can read a few pointers in my post for cream puffs. Though I have made choux pastry a few times,I would shy away from baking them as you need some muscle strength for it. But now, it is hardly any effort with my KitchenAid Stand Mixer



If you have been considering buying a stand mixer or have just got one, please do watch my video which includes a brief about various models you can buy and using KitchenAid Tilt Head Stand Mixer* stand mixer. You can also read my post here

This recipe is from one of my absolute favorite authors, David Lebovitz. I found this recipe more forgiving than the others I have tried. What's more, David also reassures that deflated puffs are fine too! I would say, go for it! Puffed up or deflated, you will forget all about the shape once you pop one warm puff in your mouth!


Gougères. Recipe from David Lebovitz

Yield: 30 bite-sized puffs
Time needed: 40 minutes, including baking time

Equipment needed

Baking sheet lined with parchment
Heavy saucepan with handle
Strong Wooden spoon
Silicone spatula
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with paddle attachment
Pastry bag fitted with a wide plain round tip


Ingredients.

Please weigh ingredients for best results, measure carefully. 

Water – ½ cup / 120 ml
Very soft unsalted butter, cut into pieces – 40 grams
Salt – heaping ¼ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon or to taste
Onion powder - ½ teaspoon
Flour – 70 grams
Eggs – 2 large / 100 grams (without shell)
plus more if needed
Extra beaten egg, 2 -3 tablespoons, keep this separately
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced
Sharp cheddar or Gruyère, grated – 75 grams plus 25 grams for sprinkling on top

Method

  • ·Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
  • ·Mise en place, this is very important.
  • Line your baking tray(s) with baking parchment. Alternatively, use a silicone mat.
  • On medium heat, heat the butter, salt, pepper and water in a heavy saucepan. Let the butter melt.
  • When the water comes to a boil, tip in all the flour and onion powder at once. You do not want the water to keep boiling or the liquid will be lost by evaporation.
  • · Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a smooth ball. 
  • · Take the pan off the heat, transfer the dough to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment

  • Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Do not add the eggs when the dough is hot or the eggs may ‘cook’.
  • Starting the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time and then increase the speed to 2. The dough will appear lumpy at first, but it will soon become smooth, this may take a couple of minutes. (You will appreciate the stand mixer more, if you have ever tried doing this by hand, it is quite a workout!)
  • Add a tablespoon or two of the extra beaten egg if neededAt the right consistency, the dough is supposed to stay on the spatula and then fall in a thick ribbon.  I used almost 120 grams of egg.
  • Be careful as you add the egg, too much will cause the puffs to deflate (which is still fine, says the author, they will still taste good)
  • Remove the bowl and stir in the cheese and thyme.
  • Scrape the mixture into the pastry bag. Pipe into small mounds (about a large cherry tomato) spaced about an inch apart. Alternatively, use 2 spoons to drop the mixture. Top each puff with a little of the remaining cheese.
  • Bake at 220C for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 190C and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown all over. This is important to avoid deflated puffs, cautions David.
  • For extra crisp puffs, 5 minutes before they are done, poke each puff at the side with a sharp knife. That will release the steam.Bake them until crisp.

These taste best served warm. If necessary, the baked puffs can be re-warmed in a low oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I recommend products which I have used and found good or products I would consider for myself based on recommendations from my trusted baker friends. There will not be any extra cost to you. This commission will help me with me costs of running the channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.