Tag Archives: cookies

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

img_5343

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!

img_5342

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).

img_5330

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.

img_5331

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.

img_5332 img_5343

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.

img_5275 img_5276

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.

img_5282img_5280

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.

img_5265

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.

img_5271

Day 6 of 12: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Back on Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas, I posted my recipe for Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies. The story behind those was the idea of seeing your snowman melt away slowly and needing some comfort with some warm chocolate chip cookies.

img_4643

I’ve since seen quite a few melted snowman themed bakes which involved fondant icing and marshmallows for the snowman’s head. This inspired me to create some Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes based on the idea of a chocolate snowball, which is a marshmallow covered in chocolate and desiccated coconut.

img_4874

The layer of ‘marshmallow’ frosting contrasts the soft and light chocolate sponge, I use the inverted commas because it’s a cross between a Swiss meringue and marshmallow but I use marshmallows to help set the frosting and give a bit of chewiness. The marshmallow topping is quite runny so would just run down the cupcake and the case if I didn’t trim off the tops of the cupcakes; the excess cake is a chef’s perk!

Remember to also check out the other 4 days of my 12 Days of Christmas, you can find the links here:

Andrew in the Kitchen’s Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Andrew in the Kitchen’s Lidl Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Andrew in the Kitchen’s White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscotti

Andrew in the Kitchen’s Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti


110g margarine

110g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

15g cocoa powder

100g self raising flour

1 tbsp milk

1 egg white

60g granulated sugar

4 tsp water

2 tsp honey

40g mini white marshmallows

Desiccated coconut, to sprinkle on top


Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

Cream together the margarine and the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition, scraping down the bowl halfway through. Sift in the cocoa powder and the flour and then using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients until they are incorporated followed by the milk.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the cupcake batter between the 6 cases, not filling them more than three quarters full. I like to level out the surfaces before baking (which also helps me to see if they need more (or less) batter in them) with a teaspoon.

img_4863

Bake the cupcakes for 18 – 22 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Once cool, trim off the tops of the cake to create a flat surface.

Over a pan of simmering water, whisk together all of the ingredients for the frosting except the marshmallows for around 6 – 7 minutes until it increases in volume, is thick and holds the shape of the whisk; it doesn’t need to be stiff like a meringue.

Melt the marshmallows in a bowl in the microwave and whisk the melted marshmallow through the meringue. Spoon the icing on top of each cupcake and use a spoon to spread the frosting out into a single layer. Sprinkle over a generous layer of desiccated coconut and finish with a sprinkling of the leftover cake crumbs.

img_4871

Day 2 of 12: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

The saddest part of a snow day is seeing your lovingly built snowman, fit with a bright orange carrot nose, button eyes wrapped in your favourite scarf and woolly hat, start to melt away and fall into the ground. At the risk of sounding like a John Lewis advert, you can certainly forget the melancholy of seeing Frosty the Snowman melt away by coming back inside to some warm dark chocolate chip cookies.

img_4643img_4640

For my festive twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie, I use white marshmallows to create the melted snowman effect. You’ll see some snowman biscuits covered in fondant however it would be overkill on a cookie like this.

This is my signature chocolate chip cookie recipe which hasn’t failed for me ever since I made this recipe. The addition of cornflour to the cookie mixture helps to keep them soft in the centre and the bicarbonate of soda spreads out the cookies so the edges can get crisp. You don’t even need a fancy mixer, the recipe is easy enough to make by hand.

This is the 2nd of my 12 Days of Christmas recipes. You can read the first one, my Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes, by clicking here.


115g margarine

180g granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g plain flour

1 tbsp cornflour, sifted

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted

100g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

White mini marshmallows


Cream together the margarine or butter with the granulated sugar with a rubber spatula, pressing the butter against the side of the bowl into the sugar and beating well. Once it has come together, beat in the large egg and vanilla extract.

Add in the flour, cornflour and bicarbonate of soda all at once and fold together until it forms a soft, pliable but not sticky cookie dough. Fold through the chocolate chunks until they are evenly dispersed through the cookie dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill the dough for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line some baking trays with baking parchment.

Take an ice cream scoop and fill it half full with cookie dough. Drop it into your hand and roll into a ball shape. Place them on the baking tray, leaving room for spreading; a standard square baking tray will hold 9; a rectangular one will only hold 6. Press 3 mini marshmallows into the top of the cookie dough.

img_4635

Bake the cookies for around 13 – 15 minutes until the cookies are brown around the edges and have spread out and the marshmallows are browned lightly. Place more marshmallows on top of the warm cookies and leave for 1 minute. Then push them down slightly to create the effect of a melted snowman. Don’t push too hard or you will push the warm unset cookie dough onto the paper and it could stick.

img_4638

Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for a further 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully, still on the parchment. Once they are completely cooled, lift them off the parchment and serving with a glass of cold milk or a cup of tea!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is crunchy and crisp on the outside, soft in the centre with gooey melted chocolate in every bite. I admit I do often shy away from making cookies because all recipes for them tend not to be crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre but this recipe is perfect.

IMG_3262

The addition of cornflour to the cookie mixture helps to keep them soft in the centre and the bicarbonate of soda spreads out the cookies so the edges can get crisp. You don’t even need a fancy mixer, the recipe is easy enough to make by hand.

This quantity makes 24 standard sized cookies each weighing 20g but you can also use an ice cream scoop to make 8 large cookies. I did try fitting 12 standard cookies on a tray but they just merged into each other so make sure you leave enough room for spreading.

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Make sure to check out my other cookie recipes – how about White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies, Funfetti Sugar Cookies or Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits?


115g margarine or unsalted butter

190g granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g plain flour

1 tbsp cornflour or potato starch

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

120g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks


Cream together the margarine or butter with the granulated sugar with a rubber spatula, pressing the butter against the side of the bowl into the sugar and beating well. Unlike a cake batter, we don’t need this whipped until it is aerated, just until it has mixed well. Beat in the large egg and vanilla extract.

Add in the flour, cornflour and bicarbonate of soda all at once and fold together until it forms a soft, pliable but not sticky cookie dough. Fold through the chocolate chunks until they are evenly dispersed through the cookie dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill the dough for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line some baking trays with baking parchment.

Take a large teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands. If the dough is still sticky, wear disposable gloves. Place on the lined baking trays, leaving enough space for spreading.

Bake for around 12 – 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookie have browned. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies, still on the baking parchment, to a cooling rack to cool fully. To remove the cookies, use the parchment to help you lift off the cookie; the cookies can be fragile if they are handled too much.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies Open