Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits

 an updated recipe

it's nearly been a year since this space here on ALA was updated and that's for a few reasons. firstly, and most obviously, i have been highly preoccupied with finishing my final year of high school and prepping for the exams which will let me into uni courses in 2018. secondly, in the time that may have been spare for recipe making, shooting and editing, i found myself at music rehearsals, at a much needed yoga class or dealing with some of the curveballs the universe has thrown at my life recently. 

during this period of waiting for my final results and score, i knew that it was time to return to this corner of the internet and to my long afternoons in the kitchen (even if the only person reading this is my mum) (hi mum!). so, here's a little update and recipe to get me back into gear!

if you've been around here for a while you'll know that christmas is my favourite time of year for food, and it will forever disappoint me that it is miles too hot in australia for warm comfort food in december and a racially-sensitive white christmas. nevertheless the universal nature of chrissy baking means that whilst my winter coats are away, the cinnamon and ginger can come out to play. 

this is an updated recipe, since during my time *off* from blogging there was a moment of discovery late last week in which i found this recipe tucked away in a stephanie alexander cookbook. oh stephy, you remind me that not all heroes wear capes. #aussielegend

these biscuits are spicy and crunchy and have just the right structural integrity to maintain their form when dunked into a cup of tea. mine were decorated with royal icing and coconut, but you could make a house, a family or a squad of superheroes with yours. the options are endless, so decorate your little heart out. go on, it's christmas. 

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notes: this recipe isn't mine (as mentioned above) yet some adaptations have been made to the original. because i posses the coordination and grace of a baby giraffe when it comes to most things, my shapes were small and my gingerbread on the thicker side for easy handling. personally, thicker gingerbread is my preference, however if thinner is your cup of tea, reduce the cooking time by 5-7 minutes 


gingerbread biscuits 

makes about 24 biscuits

ingredients

for the gingerbread cookies

85g unsalted vegan butter

90g brown sugar

1/4 c golden syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk 

235g self-raising flour (plus extra to dust board)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

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for the royal icing

2 egg whites 

1 c pure icing sugar 

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desiccated coconut (for decoration, optional)

method

to make the gingerbread cookies

in the bowl of a stand mixer slowly combine the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and golden syrup on low speed until a consistent colour is developed. increase the speed and beat until pale and creamy (~3 minutes).

add the egg yolk and beat high until the mixture increases in size and pales. 

meanwhile, in a large bowl gently combine the flour, salt and spices. with the beater on the lowest speed, add about 1/4 cup of the flour at a time, before increasing the speed to bind the dough together. it should be still quite wet and squidgy. 

roll the dough into a thick sausage about 20 cm long and wrap it in two layers of cling wrap. leave the dough in the freezer for three hours or until firm and cold (if you are making it multiple days in advance, let the dough freeze completely or chill in the fridge overnight for next-day use).

preheat the oven to 180C and line 2 trays with baking paper. 

dust a rolling pin and a clean dry surface with flour and roll out the chilled dough into a rectangle about 5mm thick. cut the dough into shapes and bake on the prepared trays in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. re-roll any remaining scraps into a rectangle and cut more biscuits. if at any time during re-rolling remaining dough to cut more shapes the dough becomes warm from the heat of your hands, return it to the freezer until chilled once more. 

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to make the royal icing

while the biscuits are cooling, beat the egg whites and icing sugar on high, using a whisk attachment until stiff peaks are formed. transfer the icing to a piping bag with a small round nozzle and, once the cakes are cooled, pipe away! sprinkle some desiccated coconut on top for a wintery-snow vibe! 

make sure to wait until the icing is properly set hard before storing the biscuits in an airtight container. 

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Super Soft Golden Syrup Cookies

hola from dubai airport! i'll tell you all about my granada & madrid & seville & valencia (gosh there's a lot) news soon (we had a blast!) but for the moment i'm throwing it back to a post i've been sitting on since july (!!!!!) because sleepy-term-3 jess was busy with schoolwork, but relaxed-and-on-holidays jess is #blessed with time. 

but sadly relaxed-and-on-holiday jess is about to turn back into sleepy-student jess because as we speak, my buddies are starting term four and i'll be joining them on thursday. anyway, whilst the return home to melbourne is bittersweet and filled with doom, gloom and lack of sleep that comes with going back to school - there is always a silver lining. here's a list of stuff i'm looking forward to when i get home!

molly on the range should be at my front door! i'm so pumped!!!! have you got yours yet?? (you should!! go get one!!)

i'll be reunited with my almond milk!! all the stuff i've been drinking here has had added sugar (gah!) because i couldn't find any other option :( but yay! i'm comin' home to the good stuff!

my own bed - doesn't everyone miss their bed when they travel?

seeing ma pals :D ah the silver lining of school...lunchtime!

playing all the music again! oh how i've missed my piano, my sheet music, the rehearsals, the giggles and the funny faces that inevitably come with playing music, being in bands and choirs with my pals :D

i definitely haven't missed the late night studying or the looming presence of exams, nor the crushing weight of responsibility and pressure that only having five more terms of high school left brings (!!!!!) and for shizzle have i relaxed here in tapas-land. but, all good things must come to an end, and as i sit here in dubai airport i guess i really am excited to go home. but putting my school uniform on for the first time on thursday will kill me just a little bit - but i'll get over it the minute i see my friends loitering around the lockers. i'm 17, it's the way it is. 

i thought i'd break up the travel posts and the eat, see & do's  that have been up here as of late (i'm in spain! read all about it here!) with a recipe! for this one, i'm actually throwing it back to one of my first ever posts on ALA (link here). god bless those photos, i stood on my dining table for that (don't tell mum!) and had yet to discover what a cookie scoop was. ah the good ol' days. this recipe is vegan and possibly the easiest thing in the world! when i say that these bad boys are super soft, i mean super soft.  like grab yourself a kitten and a fluffy jumper soft. like if the easter bunny was in cookie form, he (she?) would have this texture. when judging the cooked-ness of these biscuits, you need to go by the colour of their bottoms (hehe). a lovely dark golden brown is perfecto! they'll also need to cool on the tray they were baked in, and are best eaten a little while (try 30 mins) after they come out of the even. store in a sealed container at room temp, they'll keep for just over a week!!


super soft golden syrup cookies

{makes enough for a smol army - about 24 medium sized cookies}

ingredients

1 c brown sugar

250g nuttelex (vegan butter)

3 tsp vanilla extract

5 tsp golden syrup

2.5 c self-raising flour

1/2 c icing sugar (for dusting)

method

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 160 fan-forced) and line two large baking trays with baking paper/parchment paper.

cream the vegan butter and the sugar together until a pale and creamy consistency is formed. add the vanilla and beat on high for another 3 minutes. add the golden syrup and beat until well combined. 

slowly add the flour, 2 tablespoons at a time whilst beating on the lowest speed. wait about 10 seconds between each flour addition. once all the flour has been added, grab a spatula and gently fold the dough to make sure all the flour is mixed in. 

 using a small cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough onto a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. bake for 25 minutes or until the bottoms are nice and golden brown. 

leave them to cool on their trays for about 30 minutes then enjoy! 


- jess xx

Easter Bunny Biscuits w' Matcha Filling

hello!!! yes i know, thanks for the 'worst blogger of the year award' it was such an achievement. let me explain why it's been two months (!!!!!!!!!!!!) since my last post on here: school went back and sadly i had no spare time *inserts all the sad emojis*. i'm doing the ib program (link here for more info - i won't bore you with the gloopy details) which basically means that my calculator, school diary and laptop and i are all becoming fast friends. also shout out to my locker. you're simultaneously too small, yet big enough so i can somehow lose the one paper i really need. 

i have good news though! while i may not have had time to fully edit and form a blog post for you guys, i have been making tonnes of recipes behind the scenes, and what with school holidays starting three days ago (happy easter! i prefer the term 'bunny day' but like fetch, i feel it's never going to happen) (gretchen weiners 5eva)i'm going to back date some recipes so they're ready to go (minus words of course) for weekly posts next term!

also: term two is eleven weeks!!! it starts with awkward cold-but-not melbourne weather and ends with exams and i don't quite know how to feel about it. 

 blogging is a funny thing really cos once you get into the swing of it, i love it, i want to do more of it, and i can't wait to spend a sunday coming up with a recipe and editing a post for this space. having said that, once i stop for a loooooooooong time (ehhehe oops) getting back into the gist is like going back to school after summer break. but it's okay because i'm breaking the blogging fast with a super cute biscuit recipe based off one in a cookbook that idk where it's from and i feel like it's been in my house for as long as i have. despite the vintage recipe, i've jazzed them up (hehehe jazzy bunnies how cute!!) with a yummy matcha filling and sprinkles! and yes, because it was easter - aka bunny day (or the-worst-holiday-for-the-lactose-intolerant) - some are shaped like bunny rabbits.

i mentioned that the holidays are here (as i'm writing i have 13 whole days free!!!!!!!!!), so here's a brief list of what i intend to spend those days doing: watching doctor who, waiting for each new episode of downton abbey to come out, reading each new installment of this beautiful blog here , cuddling my friend's bunny (hi belle!) and baking cakes for anyone who comes to visit :)

here's to a return to blogging! happy easter! 

alrighty, my tip for this recipe is to wait until the biscuits are completely cooled (i said completely!!) before you ice them. to get the sides all covered in sprinkles, best to sandwich some icing between two biscuits then roll the sides of the biscuit in a bowl of sprinkles, so that the seam of icing exposed gets all deliciously coated with the colorful stuff. both the flours i used were gluten free, to allow for mum's dietary requirements, but you can use whatever type and variety of flour you prefer. i split my filling half matcha, half coloured vanilla buttercream. to do that option, simply eliminate the matcha powder and add 1 tb more icing sugar to your mix. add a pea sized amount of colouring and mix well before icing. 


Vanilla Biscuits w' Matcha Filling

{makes about 60 individual biscuits}

ingredients

250g vegan butter

1 c caster sugar 

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g self-raising flour of choice

250g plain flour of choice

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for the filling

300g vegan butter

600g icing sugar 

1 tsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 1 tb matcha powder

method

begin by preheating your oven to 180 degrees C (or 150 degrees C fan forced) and line two baking trays with grease proof paper. 

in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale. add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined for about 2-3 mins. gently fold through the flours (either use a spatula or the slowest speed on the mixer). 

turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead very lightly until it all comes together. wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

turn the chilled dough out onto the floured surface once more and roll it out until it's about 5 mm thick. using cookie cutters, cut the dough into whatever shapes you'd like. continue until all the dough is cut. 

place the cookies onto the trays, leaving about 1.5 cm between each cookie and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. leave to cool completely before sandwiching two cookies together with some icing and (if you like) rolling in sprinkles!

   

to make the filling

cream the butter until it's much paler. mix the vanilla and almond milk together and gently mix into the creamed butter. slowly add the icing sugar in three parts, mixing between each. add the matcha powder and mix until evenly incorporated into the buttercream filling. if your filling is too loose, add 1 tb more of icing sugar and continue doing so until the desired consistency is achieved. similarly, if the buttercream is too stiff, add more almond milk (1 tsp at a time). 

using a palette knife, ice one cookie and sandwich another on top. decorate with sprinkles as desired! store in a sealed container at room temp, they'll keep for 3-5 days max. 

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- jess xx