Lemon and raspberry shortbread

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The following blog is not sponsored – I simply love what the Blind Foundation do and want to encourage you to lend a hand this Bikkie Day.

It’s always a bonus when you can make a difference just by whipping up a batch of biscuits – while it’s great having a full biscuit jar tucked away, it feels so much better knowing your baking will brighten someone’s day a bit, right?

How about knowing that your baking is playing a part in changing someone’s life? Pretty massive, huh?

With the Blind Foundation’s Guide Dog Bikkie Day just around the corner, making a difference through your baking is not only possible but it’s totally easy – all you need to do is follow four simple steps:

  1. Register to take part in Bikkie Day to make it official. You’ll be sent a little pack in the mail with a red puppy cookie cutter, bake sale poster and all the info you need to get started.
  2. Bake your biscuits! Mine are lemon and raspberry shortbread – you can find the recipe below if you’d like to try them yourself.
  3. Sell your bikkies to friends, family or workmates in exchange for a donation to Blind Foundation Guide Dogs. You can do this on Bikkie Day (Monday 3 July) or any day that suits you.
  4. Donate the money you’ve raised – and feel great knowing your baking is helping such a wonderful cause.

Too easy!

While I won’t be able to take part in Bikkie Day myself this year, I decided to show my support by coming up with a recipe for all your Bikkie Day bakers – lemon and raspberry shortbread. The dough is easy to prepare, quick to bake and the biscuits hold their shape really well during baking (so don’t worry, your red puppy bikkies will look like puppies!)

Rather than icing red coats on each biscuit, I decided to dip each one in a little white chocolate which was then sprinkled with a dash of freeze dried raspberries. They still look rather cute, right?

So if you have a little time on your hands or just feel like baking for a difference, sign up for Bikkie Day – it’s totally worth it.

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Lemon and raspberry shortbread
Makes 30 red puppy biscuits

Ingredients

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 4-5 freeze-dried raspberries, crushed

Method

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add lemon juice and zest and mix well.
  2. With mixer on low, gradually add flour to butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Scoop dough into a thin disc and wrap in cling film. Place in fridge for 30 minutes (or longer).
  4. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line four baking trays with baking paper.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and turn onto a lightly floured bench. Roll dough out to approx. 5mm thick and cut using red puppy cookie cutter.
  6. Place on prepared tray and bake for 8-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on tray for around 5 min, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once biscuits have cooled, melt white chocolate chips in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Add oil and mix until well combined (this will thin the chocolate and make it set a little slower)
  8. Dip each red puppy biscuit into chocolate, tapping off excess. Place on baking paper and sprinkle with freeze dried raspberry. Place in fridge to set completely.

 

One biscuit, three ways

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Now that I’m on maternity leave I’ve developed a bit of a new obsession – always having a container of homemade biscuits in the house. Not only is it nice knowing there’s a homemade treat stashed away to relax with for afternoon tea, but it totally takes the pressure off when you know someone’s popping over for a catch-up.

The trick is finding recipes that are quick to make, easy to put your own twist on and (of course), totally moorish. Luckily for you I have a recipe that ticks all those boxes!

This basic biscuit recipe is one of my favourites because of how easy it is to spice up by simply adding an ingredient or two – whatever you have tucked away in the cupboard really! The number of variations you can make with it are truly only limited by your imagination (and pantry).

As well as sharing the recipe itself, today I’m sharing three super simple variations you can make – raspberry jam thumbprint biscuits, classic chocolate chip and, my personal favourite, lemon and poppy seed.

One of the great things about this recipe is that it’s made using a ‘secret’ ingredient that gives the basic mixture just the right amount of sweetness with fewer calories – Equal Spoonful. And guess what? If you didn’t know they weren’t made with sugar, you wouldn’t have been able to guess.

All the more reason to feel better about enjoying two (or three) when you put your feet up, right?

one-biscuit-three-ways_2Basic biscuit dough
Makes approx. 36 small biscuits

Ingredients

  • 125g butter, softened and cubed
  • ¾ cup Equal Spoonful
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line three baking trays.
  2. Place butter, Equal Spoonful and vanilla in a large bowl and cream until pale and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
  3. Add flour and baking powder. Mix until just combined. And milk and mix until dough comes together.
  4. Divide dough equally into small bowls, based on the number of variations you want to make – three of my favourites are below:

To make raspberry jam thumbprint biscuits

  1. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place of baking tray. Flatten gently with back of a teaspoon, then press thumb into top of each one to create a small hole.
  2. Fill hole will ¼ – ¼ tsp raspberry jam. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

To make classic chocolate chip biscuits

  1. Add 1 tsp milk chocolate chips and 1 tsp white chocolate chips to dough and mix until chocolate is well combined.
  2. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place on baking tray. Flatten gently with back of teaspoon or fork.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

To make lemon and poppy seed biscuits

  1. Add juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of poppy seeds to dough. Mix well.
  2. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place on baking tray. Flatten gently with back of teaspoon or fork.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

This post was made possible thanks to Equal Spoonful. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

South African rusks

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There are a whole lot of things that stand out about our time in South Africa last year – meeting Kevin’s wonderful extended family, road tripping through the South African countryside and (of course) every moment of our dream safari. But one thing I didn’t expect to stand out so much were rusks.

We were lucky enough to stay with family friends during our time in Johannesburg and were made even luckier by all the beautiful cooking and baking that filled their home – including homemade South African rusks packed with all kinds of seeds and grains.

I find rusks a bit of a tricky thing to explain – they’re kind of biscuits that you bake as one big sheet, then slice up into chunks and slowly dry out overnight in a cool oven so they are absolutely rock hard. Like break-your-teeth hard. Until you dunk them in a hot cup of tea or coffee to soften them up – then, like magic, they are a beautiful little treat to work your way through.

From our first jet-lagged morning on African soil, Kevin and I both chewed and crunched our way through countless rusks over endless cups of coffee. For me it was a novelty, but for Kevin it was more of a walk down memory lane. And we both loved every bite!

I’ve been meaning to try making some similar grainy rusks ever since we returned from our holiday but life kept getting in the way. But now that I’m on maternity leave and patiently waiting for this baby to arrive, I figured it was the perfect time to surprise Kevin with a batch of homemade rusks.

And you know what? They’re freaking delicious.

So good in fact that we’re back to our jet-lagged ways of downing endless cups of tea just so we have an excuse have a rusk (or two).

Keen to try making them yourself? Then check out the recipe below – and let me know what you think!

South-african-rusks_2

South African rusks
Adapted from NOMU
Makes approx. 50 pieces

Ingredients

  • 500g wholemeal flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 50g slivered almonds
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1.5 Tbsp baking powder
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper (I used a lamington tray)
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  3. Pour buttermilk into a jug or small bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture and melted butter to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Scoop mixture into prepared tray (it will be pretty thick and sticky) and spread evenly. Place in oven and bake for 60 minutes. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 90 degrees Celsius.
  6. Turn out onto a large chopping board and slice into rectangular wedges. Place wedges onto prepared baking trays, leaving a small gap between each piece.
  7. Place sliced rusks into oven and leave to dry for 8 hours (yip – 8 hours. That’s not a typo!). Once cool, store in an airtight container.

Easy afghans

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There have been a few random things I’ve craved so far this pregnancy – pineapple, Twisties (so weird!), doughnuts (so good!) and most recently, afghans. This baby certainly has eclectic taste – and a bit of a sweet tooth.

As today’s my first official day of maternity leave I thought I’d take some time to let you know that (1) I’m still alive!; (2) everything’s going well; and (3) share my go-to afghan recipe since it’s always at the top of my ‘to bake’ list at the moment.

One of the best things about afghans is how dead simple they are to make – in fact, they almost seem a little too easy!

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Homemade Tunnock’s tea cakes

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There were a lot of foods I fell in love with on our adventures through the US and Europe –traditional donuts called ’kleinur’ in Iceland, buttery pain au chocolat in Paris and (of course) handmade macarons. But there was one treat I couldn’t stop myself coming back to over and over (and over) again – Tunnock’s tea cakes.

Yip, I fell in love with biscuits from a packet. We bought our first box in a little corner store in Inverary, Scotland and I proceeded to have a box on hand at all times as we journeyed to the Isle of Skye to the black Isle and back down to Ediburgh. I was a woman obsessed.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a tea cake, they’re basically a hyper-fluffy mallowpuff. The marshmallow is the main difference – in a tea cake it’s light, puffed with air and creamy rather than set like a mallowpuff. The biscuit base is crumbly with just the right amount of crunch and, of course, they’re coated in chocolate. YUM.

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Sugar-free zesty lemon biscuits

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As wife to a CrossFit mad man with an insatiable appetite and very little self-control when it comes to indulging his sweet tooth, I often struggle to strike a balance between filling the cupboard with baking and not filling his bloodstream with copious amounts of sugar.

It’s simple – I love baking and he loves eating it. Every weekend we have new sweet treats tucked away in the cupboard. But just because it’s sweet doesn’t mean it has to be sugary – in fact, it doesn’t necessarily need to have any sugar at all to taste amazing.

Just look at these delicious zesty lemon biscuits. They’re soft, packed with lemony punch and are topped with just the right amount of creamy lemon icing – and are totally sugar-free. Yip – they are topped with icing but don’t have a single grain of refined sugar in sight. Pretty magic, right?

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Caramel & chocolate chunk biscuits

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Everyone needs a fail-proof, sure-to-please recipe in their arsenal perfect for those last minute events you need home baking for – which is where these biscuits come in. Whether it’s a shared lunch or unexpected guests, these chocolate and caramel biscuits are guaranteed to please.

Soft and chewy, decadent and moorish, these biscuits are my absolute go-to when you need delicious baking in a pinch. Not only is the dough deliciously soft and chocolatey, but they’re packed with chunks of real milk chocolate – no baking chocolate in sight!

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Triple Chocolate Peanut Slab Biscuits

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There’s something special about spotting the iconic gold wrapper of a Whittaker’s Peanut Slab as you wander around the supermarket aisles – and even more so when they’re sitting in your shopping trolley!

Whether you love that they’re densely packed with peanuts or that feeling you get you bite into what’s certainly quite a slab of milk chocolate, there’s no denying they’re memorable for all the right reasons.

Luckily these Triple Chocolate Peanut Slab Biscuits are on the same page as their chocolate namesake – memorable, decadent and devilishly moorish. Imagine a soft, cakey chocolate biscuit stuffed to breaking point with chunks of chopped Peanut Slabs, topped with a light drizzling of milk, white and dark chocolate. Sounds good, huh?

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