Beach Theme Cookies

Once again, I am making cookies. It is a long weekend and everyone is excited to finally go to the beach or have a pool party! Being in Australia, long weekends are not only limited to sun bathing but, and most importantly, it means BBQs! Had a couple these past days and wanting to stick to the general felt theme of the weekend, I check out some designs to reflect my beachy mood!

INGREDIENTS:

Ginger cookies  click here.

Royal icing

2 egg whites

3-4 icing sugar

silver, blue, yellow colours

200gr white fondant

150 gr flour

30 gr butter

200gr raw sugar

You can start by making the sand. Mix cold butter with flour and rub it between your fingers to make fine crumbs. Place in a tray and bake at 180° for 15 minutes or until golden.

Make the cookies. While you are waiting for the cookies to cool down, you can start making the seashells. I have a silicone mould. Just push a piece of fondant in the mould and press out to get the chosen shapes. Mix some of the silver colour with some water and brush over the seashells and let them dry.

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Make the royal icing. Divide it into three bowls: one will remain white, one will be blue and the last one yellow. Pour into piping bags. Colour only half of the cookie blue. Start by tracing the borders of your cookie and then fill in. With a toothpick even out the icing in a circular movement. Make a little wave in the middle of the cookie, as it will show movement like the sea.

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Colour the rest of the cookie yellow. While it’s still wet, drizzle a pinch of flour/butter and cover with raw sugar. Shake off the excess.

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Now make the waves. With the white icing, draw a series of Us in different places on the blue part of the cookie. Let dry for a minute and then with a slightly damp brush, spread the  icing upwards, like so.

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Time to place the seashells! Pipe two drops of icing on the sand and put a seashell on each. Press lightly on the shell. It should softly sink in the drop and the icing below.

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These are my favourite cookies so far! I hope you also get to make them and enjoy them as much as I did!

Ciao for now! xox

 

Modern Art Ginger Bread Cookies

Lately I’ve been seeing and following quite a few baking sites on Instagram and Pinterest and all the possible and wonderful designs and the creativity that goes behind making incredible desserts!

This week has been a weird one. Mike had to be rushed to hospital and had surgery… So me being me, I made him his favourite cookies for when he recovers. Apparently the best ones he has ever tasted (he never wants me to make any other than these) 🙂

But to taste you need to combine aesthetics…

INGRIEDENTS:
Follow the link to the recipe, both ginger cookies and royal icing 🙂 Plus food colouring- I used green, black, blue and yellow. I cut these cookies in square and triangles to make a bit of a change.

For the royal icing I divided it in 4 bowls: three with just a small amount (coloured in yellow, green and blue) and the 4th with a larger amount of icing, which you will be black.

The three coloured ones need to be slightly more liquid to give the splash effect, so add LITERALLY 1-2 drops of water in the icing and mix. This should be more than enough.

Now Colour the cookies in black and use the flooding technique from the other post.

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Now, using a fork for each of the three colours, splash on the cookies. This will be a bit messy so use some parchment or work surface mat not to dirty the table. You can obviously do more cookies at the time, it will take forever otherwise!

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With a slightly damp brush, eliminate the splashes on the side of the cookies to clean it. Let dry completely.

Now add more icing sugar to the green colour to make it stiffer. Put in a piping bag with a nozzle N4 and pipe small dots around the edge of the cookies.

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And there you have it! Amazing and really good 😀 Mike will be a happy patient when he gets these!

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Enjoy. Ciao for now xox

Chocolate Butter Cookies

I’ve been wanting to try this technique for a while and it takes quite a large amount of waiting time, so I used my day off to do it 🙂

The skills come in when it comes to the decorations… first time I’m trying this out so it might be one good looking cookie out 24! But we will give it a try anyways!

INGREDIENTS:

For the cookies-
3/4 cup sugar
180gr butter (soft)
1 egg
1 tsp hazelnut essence
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
For the royal icing-
2 egg whites
3-4 icing sugar (depending on how thick you want it to be)+ extra
1 tsp lemon juice
blue, red and black food colouring
sugar pearls
thin brush
Start with the cookies. Beat the butter and sugar together and then add the egg. When it’s all combined and you’ve scraped the bowl, add the dry ingredients a bit at the time along with the hazelnut essence. The consistency will be very sticky so don’t worry about making it into a ball. Put the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Turn oven on 180°. Take out and cut into 3 pieces. Leave one part out and put the other two back in the fridge. This dough melts really quickly so try to work it as fast as you can. Flour a surface and roll the dough out and cut into circles. Line a tray with parchment and bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and let the cookies cool completely.
Meantime, prepare the icing. Start beating the egg whites and add the sugar a little at the time. Add the lemon juice. It should read a very thick consistency which should make it easier to decorate.
Divide the icing in two bowls. One you will keep white and then other you will dye blue. Pour the icing in piping bags, the white with a thin nozzle and for the blue just cut the end of the bag. I put the piping bags in glasses to help me pour.
Now you can start flooding the cookies. Help yourself with a toothpick. With the blue, draw a circle making the border of the cookie and then fill with colour. In a circular movement use the toothpick to cover the gaps. Do this with all the cookies and let them set for at least 2-3 hours.
When I was done, I still had a lot of blue left over so I coloured it a dark purple, adding a splash of black and 1-2 tsp of red. The icing might become very liquid so just add more icing sugar and mix. When you are happy with the colour then pour it in another piping bag with a thin nozzle.
Now start making the flowers 🙂 With the white or the purple, draw the three top of a heart shapes around the cookie or make squiggles like in the pictures.
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Have a small glass of water near by to keep the brush damp. With the tip of the brush, spread the icing from the border towards the centre of the cookie, following the icing’s shape.
Make sure you clean the brush after every petal or the icing will accumulate.
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Do this with all the cookies, giving the icing the time to dry so you can make a second layer later and then repeat the process with inner petals.
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Once you are finished, put some icing in the middle of the cookie and place pearls in the centre.
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And there you go. Hope you have as much fun as I did. Enjoy. Ciao for now! xox

Musical Ginger Cookies

Does this happen normally to you? Get up in the morning thinking mmmm I want something sweet and you know exactly what you want?!
I’ve never made ginger cookies before and I haven’t baked in a while. I picked up other less fattening hobbies these days 🙂 but I wanted to make something creative and I’ve worked with royal icing only a couple of times now and yes it has been challenging but also very rewarding!
I had a karaoke night and thought it would be nice to have something to go with the theme. Have musical notes here and there and also pianos and keys 🙂

Usually for ginger cookies you need molasses but I didn’t have any and gave it my own twist and added maple syrup instead. Mind you it still tastes great!! And they smell like Xmas! 😀

INGREDIENTS: make 35

For the cookies-
85 gr butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
2/3 cup maple syrup

For the royal icing-
2 egg whites
2 1/2 icing sugar
black food colouring

Start by sifting all the flour and the spices together (except the cloves). Melt the butter with the cloves and let infuse for 10-15 minutes, then sieve the butter in a bowl with the brown sugar. Beat until mixed (it will be very liquid but don’t worry about it). Add the egg and the dry ingredients. Lastly add the maple syrup. The dough should become compact, soft and easy to make into a ball.
Cover in cling and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Turn oven on 180°. Flour the working surface and roll out the dough. Leave it at least 1 cm high and cut in your chosen shapes (I did round and square).

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Line a tray with parchment, place the cookies on it and bake for 10minutes. Let them cool completely on a rack.

Meantime make the royal icing by whisking all the ingredients together until you reach a thick mixture. If it is too liquid still, add more sugar, if too thick add water.
Divide in two bowls, one of which you will colour in black.
Pour the icing in two piping bags with thin nozzles. I used the glasses to help me pouring it in and to hold the bags while I’m not using them.

Now start decorating. It took me a couple of tries to see which was the simplest for the designs I had in mind so here it goes. For the round cookies draw a circle near the edge with the white icing and fill in. Use a toothpick to help you with the gaps.

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With small circular movements, spread the icing. Let dry. With the black icing, make small dots around the white circle and draw a musical key or notes as you wish and let dry.

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The square ones took me a bit longer to figure out but this seemed like the simplest way. Draw a white outline of the square. On top of the square, draw two rectangles close to each other, making sure there are white spaces between and aside. Leave the rectangles empty and fill in the rest of the cookie.

You have the choice to let dry or keep on working on it like I did. With the black icing, draw an outer border. Outline the two rectangles, overlapping with the white colour, and fill in. Draw a straight downwards line from the bottom middle of the rectangles to the end of the cookies. And you have a piano key!

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Of course you can make any designs you wish. I tried 5 different ways to make the piano and this was the most successful.

Anywoos! Hope you enjoy making these yummy cookies not only tasty but also good looking 😉

And enjoy making a mess!

 

Ciao for now! xox

Butter Cookies and Royal Icing

Non-Xmas office parties are coming up and Secret Santas are getting exchanged. I had pretty much nothing to do all day and wanted to try something I’ve never done before: Royal Icing.

I always see all these fabulous videos on Facebook of this girl decorating cookies like it was the easiest task in the world and she does amazing stuff. Then of course I saw a picture of the embroidered flowers made with royal icing and I just had to try it! However,  I did not and still do not have the right equipment to do that so I just made other simpler drawings 🙂

INGREDIENTS:Makes 40

Cookies: found this recipe on food.com and rounded up some of the numbers and it’s pretty good!

270gr butter

180gr sugar

1 tsp salt

470 gr flour

1 egg yolk

1 tsp milk (the dough was too crumbly I needed to add some)

Royal Icing: (these amounts were perfect for these many cookies)

2 egg whites

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 cups icing sugar (you can add more if you like, depends on the consistency).

For the Cookies:

Beat butter and sugar together. Add the salt, yolk and flour. Knead on the counter top. If it is very crumbly like mine was, add some milk, very little at the time without exaggerating. Once it’s smooth, make a ball wrap it in cling and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Turn on oven 180°. Cover two trays with parchment. Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface and cut out circles with a glass or cookies cutter.

Place on the trays and then bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

butter cookies

While they are cooling, make the royal icing by placing egg whites in a bowl with the lemon juice and adding icing sugar little at the time. It should reach a thick dense consistency.

I divided the icing in three bowls and coloured one orange (combined red and yellow), and blue and the last I left white. I filled three piping bags with a thin nozzle.

To start with, draw and outer circle in the cookie to delineate where you are going to colour in. Then make concentric circles within the border and with a toothpick making small circular movements fill in the gaps and even out the colour.

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While the icing is still wet I made different designed and combined different colours.

To make the waves (not sure how they are actually called) or arrow patters, draw parallel lines across the cookie. Drag a tooth pick perpendicularly from the lines pulling down.

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If you want to make a bit different you can alternate the movement going down and up, down up till the end and have this effect

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To make webs, draw concentric circles, starting from the middle with a dot and then bigger circles. With a toothpick, starting from the centre, drag towards the outer lines of the cookies.

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For the flowers, same procedure with the circles, just drag the toothpick the opposite way so from the outside towards the centre of the cookie.

When you are done, leave them to set and dry. I left them overnight and then took them in the office the morning after.

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Ciao for now and enjoy these goodies! xox

 

 

Sugar-Jam Cookies

Yes, three more days to go before my one and ONLY exam. I’m already tired of studying, but I have to consider myself lucky as others have had 4-5 exams in a week and a half. So I can’t really complain.
After work I really couldn’t be bothered to study or revise, I mean, I’ve already covered my bathroom mirror with all my notes and diagrams, what more can I do without going absolutely nuts? 😛

So lets enjoy some baking, so I have treats to energise myself and my study buddies these days!

INGREDIENTS:

1cup sugar
320gr butter
3 1/2 cups flour (sifted in separate bowl)
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp milk (have extra if needed)
1 jar of jam (I’m using raspberry)
1/4 cup icing sugar (to sprinkle)

Beat butter and sugar. (Usually, because it is cold now, I put the butter in heat proof bowl and put it in the oven for a minute then take it out and it should be soft enough to beat without making a mess). When combined, add flour little and the time. With your hands combine the ingredients and the add the milk till the dough shapes into a ball. If you need to, work it on a floured surface.
Wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour.

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Turn on oven 180°. Take out and roll out on working surface. Don’t make it too thin. Cut with any shape you like. Since they will be sandwiched, cut a normal one and the second one, cut the middle (any shape you like)

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You can also keep the smaller ones!

 

 

Place on baking tray for 15 minutes.Let them cool.

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On the normal shape, spread jam. The second (with the cut out centre) sprinkle with icing sugar and then place on top of the jammed base.

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And voilà! There you got it!

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Simply wonderful and flavourful cookies for study breaks. 🙂

I did keep the smaller shapes and with the leftover dough I made small flowers so nothing goes to waste! IMG_8239IMG_8250

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy, ciao for now! xox
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Rose cookies with marshmallow buttercream filling

Thought it would nice to make something small and simple for Girl’s night 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

230gr butter

1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

2cups flour

1/2 cup milk (plus extra)

1/4 cups cocoa powder

Filling:

1cup marshmallow fluff

70 gr butter

1 cup icing sugar

Turn oven on 180°. Mix butter and sugar together till pale. Add the egg and the dry ingredients. Add milk. Add as much milk as needed. The dough is pretty stiff and if you need it to be softer to pipe it add more.

Put all in a piping bag with a star-rose tip.

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Pipe on a baking tray lined with parchment. To make a rose shape start piping from the centre of your (imaginary) cookie and then with a circular movement go around the piped centre.

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Put the roses in the oven for 8 minutes. Let them cool once out of the oven and pair them up. IMG_8216

In the meantime, make the buttercream filling. For the marshmallow you can either buy the fluff in a jar or make it yourself. to see how to make it check out my previous post 🙂

Beat the butter and the icing sugar together until combined then add the fluff. If you like to make stiffer, add icing sugar. Mine was kind of fluffy but quite liquid almost.

Put all in the buttercream in a piping bag. You don’t need a nozzle for this, just cut the bag and pipe in the cookies.

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And you should get this 🙂

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They look lovely 🙂 I put them in the fridge to make the cream firmer inside.  I would recommend to serve them when made. I left them in the fridge over night and they absorbed the cream moisture. Don’t get me wrong they were still really good 🙂

Enjoy. Ciao for now!! xox

Cuor di mela- Apple filled cookies

I’m back with yet another really yummy recipe.

This will be my last post for a while, a little more than a month, as I will be finally, FINALLY leaving for my such awaited trip to Asia 😀

Lately I have been craving my favourite cookies from Mulino Bianco, cuor di mela. I swear, I always try my hardest and best not to buy them cuz they never last more than 10 minutes, and I’m talking a whole bag of them! Luckily I had all the necessary ingredients and tweaked a few to what I had in the house 😉

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INGREDIENTS

Pastry:

250 gr plain flour

100gr cold cubed butter

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

100 gr sugar

Filling:

2 red apples

20gr brown sugar

2 tbsp strawberry jam

1 tsp vanilla sugar (not necessary I just added it for a change)

For the pastry, put everything in a bowl and work until you manage to form a compact and evenly combined dough ball. Its extremely hot and and humid here in Brisbane right now, so when I would suggest, once you obtain the ball, the wrap it in cling film and put in the freezer to rest. I actually put it in a bowl with ice cubes on top and bottom in the freezer.

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While the pastry is resting, cut the apples in small cubes. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan adding 2 tbsp of water and let cook for 15 mins. Once it’s done, pour in a dish to let it cool faster.

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Turn oven on 180°. Get the pastry from the freezer, and flatten it and cut round with a glass or a cookie cutter. Fill some of the rounds with the cooked apple and use the other rounds to cover them and close with your fingers pressing on the sides.

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Cut two slits on the very top, place the cookies on a parchment lined tray and bake for 15 mins or wait for the sides to slightly brown.

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They seem a bit pale but as long as they are cooked it’s fine, you want to avoid eating raw dough!

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And there you go! Lovely apple filled cookies for tea 🙂 🙂 or any time of the day in my case 🙂

Have a good one people, enjoy the rest of your holidays, I certainly will.

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Ciao for now! xox

Big Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cookies

Yet again I am back with a new recipe for another special occasion!

It was Will’s birthday, he is trying pretty hard to make his chosen nickname “Big Red” stick so as a private joke I made him Red Velvet cookies 🙂 some people cottoned on but i’m not quite sure he did…

When making these make sure you have plenty of time or rather prepare the dough the day before as it has to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

INGREDIENTS

120g  unsalted butter, room temperature
60g  cream cheese
135g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
210g  plain / all purpose flour
15g  cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk

1cup of white chocolate chips + Red food colouring

In a bowl, whisk butter, cream cheese, caster and brown sugar til fluffy, then add the food colouring.

In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the egg, milk, vanilla, vinegar and add it to the sugar mix.

Scraping down the sides, whisk the dry ingredients a bit at the time in the sugar mix until completely combined.

Add the chocolate chips and mix with a spatula.

Once it’s all done, wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

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Turn oven on 180°. Make balls from the dough and place them on a tray covered with baking paper. My oven is quite small so I prepared all the balls in advance and had to do a tray at the time. On each I put 5-6 balls well spaced out while the rest I put in the freezer as the room temperature was quite high given the current summer heat.

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Leave in the oven for 15 mins. When they come out they will still be pretty soft and flimsy so get them on a cooling rack covered with parchment with a spatula to avoid breaking them in half.

And that is that! I made 24 or so cookies but it mostly depends on how big or small you want them to be 🙂

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Enjoy! Ciao for now! xox

Cantucci- Italian Biscotti

Yeeees, it is quite obvious and clear that I have days off for the holidays so I’m cramming everything I wasn’t able to do baking wise in these two-three days.

I made these as a gift for a friend of mine, it’s just a shame I wasn’t able to find or had the sufficient time rather to pick up some Vin Santo to have them with. We will make due without not a problem ;).

INGREDIENTS

280 gr sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

100 gr butter melted

250 gr almonds

500 gr plain flour

4 eggs + 1 yolk

1 egg for coating

Turn oven on 190°. Place almonds in a tray and put them in the oven to roast for 3-5mins then let cool aside.

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In a bowl beat 4 eggs and a yolk with the sugar until fluffy and pale. Add the melted butter followed by the flour and baking powder. Once it’s all combined equally, add the almonds, sprinkle some flour on a counter top and knead the dough into a ball.

Divide the ball into three or two balls, depending on how big you want the biscotti to be.

IMG_6425I divided it into three equally sized balls. On a baking tray lined with parchment, work the dough into long thick shape and coat with the last slightly beaten egg.

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Put in the oven for 20 mins or til golden. Take them out, cool for a couple of minutes and cut them diagonally to be at least 1cm thick.

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Place the biscotti face up one next to the other on the tray and let bake for another 10-15 minutes at 170° in order to have that golden colour in the inside also.

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They look so yummy don’t they 🙂

Well Enjoy

Ciao for now! xox