Category Archives: Biscuits

Giant Linzer Cookie and Linzer Sandwich Cookies

Named after the city of Linz in Austria, Linzertorte is said to be the oldest cake in the world dating back to a Veronese recipe from 1653. Its popularity rose after being taken over to Milwaukee by an Austrian traveller. The linzer cookie is a derivative of the linzertorte made by cutting out shapes of a cookie dough similar to the pastry of the linzertorte, topping with jam and placing another cookie on top with a hole missing to expose the filling like the lattice design on a traditional linzertorte. I love the German translation of the linzer cookie, they are Linzer Augen, literally Linzer Eyes!

Linzertorte pastry is flavoured with lemon zest, cinnamon and ground hazelnuts but this recipe uses ground almonds which are much easier to find and compliment the lemon well. The important step in this recipe is to chill the biscuit dough before rolling out and after cutting out – chilling is required for the dough before rolling as it is impossible to roll this dough out without chilling so this dough can be made in advance; chilling is required after cutting out to help maintain the shape of the linzer cookies so they don’t spread much which could ruin the appearance since the 2 cookie halves must be identical in shape!

One little trick I like to do is add the lemon zest in the creaming process. The friction from the granulated sugar releases the oils in the lemon zest adding much more flavour to the dough and it distributes it much more evenly too!

The filling I use is a good quality strawberry conserve. Of course you can use any other flavour beside strawberry however I like the strong contrast of the jam from the dusted icing sugar on top which is so visually pleasing! Blueberry jam would work fantastically with the lemon and almond flavour in the biscuits and would be a great colour.

So you might see these and think they are very similar to jammy dodgers – they are essentially the same thing! The great thing about the linzer cookies is that you don’t have to stick to the traditional round shape, you can make them into whatever shape you want to suit any occasion – I chose to go for the cupcake shape to keep the baking theme going! Just make sure that you have a smaller cutter to cut out the hole for the top linzer cookie to expose the filling. I think it looks more attractive if the hole is the same shape as the cookie itself but it doesn’t have to be!

I made a Giant Linzer Cookie as well as Linzer Sandwich Cookies and the quantity of dough stated below is enough to make a 10in giant cookie and 7 sandwich cookies and plenty of leftover too. I would make a large batch of this dough and freeze what you don’t use so that it is on hand whenever you need cookie dough however you can just halve the dough if you want.

Make sure to also check out my other biscuit recipes like my Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits, my Homemade Custard Creams and my Gingerbread Oven Showstopper!


250g margarine

250g granulated sugar

Zest of 1 large lemon

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

500g plain flour

300g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

200g good quality strawberry conserve

Icing sugar, to dust


For the cookie dough, cream together the margarine with the sugar and lemon zest until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg until combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and add in the ground almonds and use a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until a soft but not sticky dough forms. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap in clingfilm and chill for 90 minutes or even overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Line some baking trays with baking parchment.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the cookie dough to 5mm thickness, rotating the dough every so often so it doesn’t stick to the surface.

For the Giant Linzer Cookie:

Remove the base from a 10in loose bottomed fluted tart tin. Use the tart tin to cut out a disc of the linzer cookie dough. Slide the base of the tin under the cookie and move to the lined baking tray. Refrigerate for 15 minutes meanwhile repeat the same process to cut out a second disc. On one disc, use a large shaped cutter to remove some dough for the hole in the centre of the top cookie – this cookie can act as the base for one sandwich cookie! I like to take the centres from the Linzer Sandwich Cookies and place them on top to continue the theme.

Bake the base linzer cookie for around 14 – 16 minutes until the cookie is golden brown on the surface and around the edges and feels set. Leave the cookie to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before carefully transporting to a cooling rack.

Bake the top linzer cookie for around 12 minutes until it is golden brown and set. While the cookie is still warm, take the same cutter you used for the hole and press again to remove any excess dough from where the cookie spread in the oven. Leave the cookie to cool on the tray completely. Once cool, dust lightly with icing sugar. [Excuse the slight crack, that was me trying to move it to the cooling rack]

To fill, turn the base of the Giant Cookie over on your serving dish or cake stand and spread over a good generous layer of the conserve, leaving a slight border. Then place the dusted top cookie on the base to make a Giant Linzer Cookie.

 

For the Linzer Sandwich Cookie:

Use your desired cookie cutter to cut out as many shapes from the rolled out dough as possible and place on the baking tray. Then cut out the shape of your hole on half of the cookies while on the tray (you won’t distort the shape when transporting them!). Reroll any of the offcuts no more than twice.

Chill the cookies for 15 minutes before baking the bases for 12-14 minutes and the tops for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges and they feel set. Leave to cool on the trays completely. Dust the tops completely with icing sugar.

To fill the cookies, turn the bases of the cookies over and spread over a good generous layer of jam, leaving a slight border around the edge. Then take one of the dusted top cookies and sandwich together to make a Linzer Sandwich Cookie.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my latest recipe post inspired by The Great British Bake Off for Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls!

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Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits

Black sesame is an ingredient commonly used in many Chinese desserts such as black sesame soup called ji ma wu (a type of tong sui, or sweet soup – I’ve got a recipe for one here!) or as a filling for mochi or tong yuen which are glutinous rice balls.

In the UK however, black sesame is much less commonly used in comparison to its white sesame counterpart and yet they are arguably more interesting an ingredient!

For a long time, black sesame was reserved only for decorating breads or to sprinkle over savoury dishes to make them more attractive and trendy-looking but as the Western world begins to become more greatly influenced by Asian cultures, black sesame has found itself becoming an ingredient found much more frequently in recipes where the black sesame is a main ingredient and not just a garnish.

You might find maverick chefs, patissiers and chocolatiers using black sesame in their tuiles, biscuits, chocolates and cakes – and that includes Iain from Bake Off who made black sesame ice cream (and threw it in the bin)! Its colour as well as its flavour is certainly what has made black sesame such an attractive ingredient; the distinctive grey colour it produces is rather wonderful and tastes completely different to how it looks! You can find my No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream recipe by clicking on the name!

Black sesame has a bitter, nuttier and smokier flavour compared to white sesame which are basically the same except black sesame does not have its outer hulls removed. This minute difference in the flavour means that black sesame is much more exciting an ingredient and what makes it so tasty too.

You’ll often black sesame being paired together with matcha green tea or dark chocolate as in today’s recipe for Black Sesame and Dark Chocolate Biscuits.

This follows a basic sugar cookie recipe which I finally have perfected after trying numerous recipes. If you wanted to make a basic plain cookie, simply omit the black sesame and the dark chocolate and up the sugar by 10g. You can also find my Funfetti Sugar Cookies too by clicking here. You might also want to check out my Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies and my Coffee and Vanilla Striped Biscuits! 


85g margarine

90g granulated sugar

1 egg

190g plain flour

10g black sesame seeds, plus extra to decorate

20g dark chocolate, finely grated


In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the plain flour, the black sesame seeds and the grated dark chocolate and fold through until it forms a pliable but not sticky dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the biscuit dough to 0.5cm thick, lifting up from the surface every so often so it doesn’t stick. Using a lightly floured 4cm cutter, cut out rounds of the biscuit dough and place on the lined baking tray, rerolling the offcuts no more than twice; these biscuits do not spread but will bake more evenly with space left between them for air to circulate.

Place 1 black sesame seed in the centre of each biscuit, pressing down lightly so it is embedded.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 11 minutes or until the edges have turned golden. Leave the biscuits on the baking tray to cool for 15 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool fully.

Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies

I’ve said before that I find making cookies where you roll out and cut out cookie shapes not enjoyable. The cookies would usually end up tough and rather bland however after a lot of experimenting and sugar cookie baking, I’ve managed to get a recipe which produces perfect sugar cookies. These are my Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies!

The perfect cookie is crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the centre but the addition of rainbow sprinkles add not only a massive pop of colour but a tiny amount of texture which adds a lot of interest to a standard sugar cookie recipe.

I eliminate the chance of overworking the dough when you roll it out by hand by following an icebox cookie method. If you’ve not heard of an icebox cookie, you might actually be familiar with the method and some cookies which use it; checkerboard cookies, pinwheel cookies and striped cookies all use the icebox method.

The cookie dough is shaped into a log and chilled to firm it up which allows it to be sliced into shapes which give consistency across a batch of cookies. Icebox cookies tend to be smaller than your average chocolate chip cookie so the yield per batch is much higher than most other recipes. I averaged around 60 cookies per batch.

Icebox cookies have a further benefit in that the cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen and after time defrosting in the fridge, it can be used as normal. Just make sure that it is wrapped tightly in clingfilm so it doesn’t suffer from freezer burn.

Check out my other cookie recipes by clicking on the names:


170g margarine

200g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

355g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

80g rainbow vermicelli sprinkles, plus 50g for the outside of the cookies


In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix through the vanilla extract.

Sift in the plain flour and baking powder and using a rubber spatula, fold through the dry ingredients. Before the mixture comes together into dough, add in the rainbow sprinkles and continue to mix until a pliable dough forms.

Fill a baking tin with the extra rainbow sprinkles. Divide the dough into 4 and on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log. Roll the log gently in the tin of sprinkles until the outside of the log is well covered. Lay out sheets of clingfilm and roll up the logs in clingfilm well. Shape the cookie dough into a cuboid shape and repeat for the rest of the dough. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife and a single downward motion, slice off pieces of the cookie dough ¼ of an inch thick and arrange on the baking tray, leaving room for spreading.

Bake the cookies for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are ever so slightly tinged golden around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 15 minutes before carefully lifting off the tray and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple and Sultana Hot Cross Scones

Scones are a brilliant starting place for any beginner baker and homemade scones fresh from the oven are far superior to supermarket scones. I’ve given the classic scone a slight twist with the addition of apple and seeing as we’re in April and Easter is around the corner, I added a cross on top of the scones, as an alternative to hot cross buns. These are my Apple and Sultana Hot Cross Scones.

Traditionally, the liquid used to bind the ingredients in scones is milk however I toyed with the idea of using apple juice as the binding liquid and I found it worked just fine, adding slight sweetness as well as flavour. The variety of apple I chose was Gala as they looked the most delicious and sweet in the shops. I like to keep the red skin on however you can peel the apples too. The size of the diced apples is about 1cm.

I usually avoid using a rolling pin to flatten the dough so that I resist the temptation of rolling it too thinly and it also prevents knocking out as much of the air created thus far. Also, when you cut out your scones, don’t twist the cutter otherwise the scones won’t rise properly. The cutter I used was a mug which was 7cm wide at the top so these scones are fairly sizeable but feel free to use a smaller cutter for daintier scones (and also reduce the baking time).


250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

60g margarine, cut into cubes

45g granulated sugar

1 Gala apple, cored and diced

30g sultanas

1 large egg

60 – 80ml apple juice, plus extra for brushing the scones

30g plain flour

Water


Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder and the spices into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine and even breadcrumbs. Shaking the bowl will move larger pieces of the margarine to the surface. Create a well in the centre and add the sugar, diced apple and sultanas and stir to combine so the fruit is coated in the flour.

Make another well and crack in the egg and add three-quarters of the apple juice and using a palette knife and a cutting and stirring motion, bring together until it forms a loose dough.

Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to knead the dough for about 10 seconds to bring it together. It should look quite rough but hold together as a dough; if it’s smooth, then you’ve overworked it. Use your hands to flatten the dough to around 2cm thickness.

Use a lightly floured cutter (I used a mug which was 7cm wide at the top), cut out as many scones as you can from the dough and place onto the baking tray, leaving space for expansion. Reroll and reshape any of the scraps of dough, doing this a maximum of 2 times to avoid overworking.

Brush the tops of the scones with apple juice. In a small bowl, mix together the flour with enough water to form a thick pipeable paste. Transfer into a piping bag and cut off a small hole at the end and then pipe a cross over the scones, starting from and finishing at the sides of the scones.

The scones took around 20 – 25 minutes to bake in my oven. I waited for the tops and sides to be evenly golden brown and lifting up the scones from the parchment, it should come cleanly off the parchment and be browned well on the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Valentine’s Day White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

The combination of white chocolate and cranberry is classic in a biscuit; in fact I even used as the basis of one of my 12 Days of Christmas recipes, my White Chocolate Cranberry Crunch Biscuits. Instead of doing a crunchy biscuit, I’m combining white chocolate and cranberry with my signature soft cookie recipe and as Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I decided to make them pink too.

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I like to keep the white chocolate fairly chunky so that there are large chunks of sweet and creamy white chocolate which are still slightly soft in the cookie. The dried cranberries add a different flavour dimension as well as a good pop of colour.

I think that I’ve probably baked around 600 cookies using this recipe for charity events, open evenings at school and for friends. It still produces perfect cookies which are soft and chewy in the centre with a slight crisp edge. This is the first time that I’ve experimented with white chocolate in the cookies but it won’t be the last!

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You can find my original Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe by clicking on the name.


115g margarine

160g granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g plain flour

1 tbsp cornflour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g white chocolate, each square chopped into 6 cubes

50g dried cranberries

Red food colouring paste or gel

Heart shaped sprinkles


In a mixing bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until they are incorporated and it is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract well. There’s no need to worry if the mixture curdles as next, sift in the dry ingredients into the bowl all at once and using a spatula, fold them in.

When the dry ingredients are 50% folded in, add in the white chocolate chunks and dried cranberries and continue to fold through until a soft but not sticky cookie dough is formed. Add in enough red food colouring paste or gel to make the cookie dough pink enough to your liking.

Transfer the cookie dough into a plastic container, put the lid on and chill for 45 minutes (or in the same bowl if you have enough room).

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Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line a few baking trays with baking parchment.

Half fill a standard ice cream scoop with the cookie dough and then roll the dough into balls, spacing them 2 inches apart on the baking tray; I can fit 9 on my baking tray. Top each cookie with some of the heart shaped sprinkles.

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Bake the cookies for around 13 – 17 minutes, depending on the size of your dough balls. They should be evenly spread and have started to turn a slight golden brown around the very edges of the cookie. Leave the cookies to cool completely on the baking tray before lifting off the baking parchment.

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They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies

Ginger is one of the building blocks of Chinese cuisine and it is well known (and increasingly backed up by science) that ginger has many health-bearing properties; Confucius said “do not take away the ginger” because ginger can reduce internal heat and fever. With all that, here’s another, less traditional, recipe that would be perfect for Chinese New Year, my Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies.

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You can check out the recipe for my Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水) by clicking on the name. It’s a much more authentic Chinese recipe. However in saying that, these cookies have a very similar appearance to Chinese Walnut Cookies called 核桃酥 (Hup Toh Soh) so I guess there’s a Chinese influence somewhere.

I added some of Beech’s Chocolates’ Crystallised Stem Ginger to the cookies for a chewy burst of sweet gingery heat. Their stem ginger is “large chunks of the highest quality Chinese stem ginger dusted in fine cane sugar” and is a new product on their website and I was lucky enough to pick some up back in November at a food show. It retails at £6.99 and you can find it online by clicking here.

One of my favourite things about this product is the packaging. I love the oriental feeling the packaging has which comes from the red dragons on the box. It plays on the fact that it is Chinese stem ginger and it makes this product stand out for me.

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Sometimes crystallised ginger can be quite tough and hard to eat but Beech’s Stem Ginger has the fantastic crunchy sweet sugary coating which is easy to bite into and then you have soft, sticky and chewy Chinese ginger which is spicy, warming on the tongue and throat and full of ginger flavour. It’s something that I could enjoy on its own as well as using it in my baking.

I’ve also reviewed and used Beech’s Chocolate’s Lime and Chilli Chocolate in my Bonfire Chilli Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes, and you can find that recipe by clicking on the name.

This recipe is adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea. I changed the spices to what I had in the cupboard as well as adapting the recipe quantities, adding in the stem ginger pieces and baking them for a bit longer so the edges are nice and crisp.


85g margarine

135g granulated sugar

1 egg

185g self-raising flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

6 pieces of crystallised stem ginger, chopped into small cubes, saving 16 cubes for the tops of the cookies

Demerara sugar, for sprinkling


In a bowl, cream together the margarine with the granulated sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat well until the egg is incorporated.

Sift and then fold in all the dry ingredients to form a soft but not sticky dough. Before it all comes together to a dough, add in your chopped crystallised stem ginger. Leave the dough to sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

I found it easy to portion out the cookies using a half filled ice cream scoop. Roll the dough into a ball between the palms of your hands and place onto the baking trays, leaving a 2 inch gap between each cookie. Top each cookie with a cube of the stem ginger and then sprinkle Demerara sugar over each cookie, tipping away the excess.

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Bake the cookies for around 13 – 16 minutes until the edges are a golden colour, the cookies are browned nicely, they have a cracked appearance and they have spread. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before leaving to cool on the parchment. The cookies should lift off very easily.

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Day 8 of 12: Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti

If you’ve been following my 12 Days of Christmas series (and I can’t believe that we’re here on Day 8 already, the time has flown by!), you know that I’ve been a bit obsessed with making biscotti; I’ve already made White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscuits and Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti for Days 4 and 5 respectively.

And I think they’ve become such a favourite of mine to make because they are so simple to make, even without the aid of an electric mixer, something which I’ve had to adapt to here at uni! What’s more, just 1 egg white can make 12 of these biscotti, which means that they are a fantastic recipe to make if you want to make edible gifts this year.

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Biscotti are often served alongside coffee and I was inspired by Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte to fuse the two together to make Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti. These biscotti are lightly spiced with festive spices and has a delicate hint of coffee too.

Remember to also check out the first 7 Days of Christmas on my blog!!

Day 1: Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Day 2: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 3: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Day 6: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Day 7: Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy Review


1 egg white

¼ tsp cream of tartar

40g granulated sugar

½ tsp Camp Coffee essence

33g plain flour

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp mixed spice

Pinch of ground nutmeg

60g hazelnuts, chopped into rough pieces


Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, which is lightly greased.

Whisk the egg white with the cream of tartar until it is frothy. Add the sugar very gradually, whisking well between each addition until it holds stiff peaks. Add in the Camp Coffee essence and fold through until it has been evenly incorporated; it will be a very light brown colour.

Sift in the flour and spices and use a spatula to fold through the dry ingredients, scraping right down to the bottom. Add the roughly chopped hazelnuts and mix through.

Scrape out the batter onto the oiled baking parchment and flatten out to 1.5cm thick. Bake the biscuits for around 25 minutes until the surface is golden and set (by which I mean the top doesn’t give way when you touch it). Leave it to cool fully on the tray.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Take a serrated knife and slice the biscuits into long strips about 1cm wide and place them onto a baking tray with the cut side face up. Bake the biscuits again for a total of 15 minutes, turning them to expose the other side halfway through.