Festive ginger biscuits

Festive ginger biscuits
Festive ginger biscuits

Amongst moving house and fighting with the gas company to get connected, I haven’t had much chance to do my usual Christmas baking.

But when my hubby asked for something to take in to his work colleagues, I couldn’t resist throwing together these biscuits.

I’ll admit upfront that my piping technique is a work in progress so these aren’t as neat as I would have liked. I stole the idea from Jocelyn’s Provisions (https://www.facebook.com/jocelynsprovisions) whose look a hell of a lot more crisp and clean than mine!

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you have a safe and happy break. And thank you for following me on my baking journey this year – I reached 100 followers this week which may not sound like a lot to some, but means so much to me 🙂

Festive ginger biscuits
Festive ginger biscuits

Festive ginger biscuits

125g butter, softened

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 egg yolk
1.5 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy then add the molasses and golden syrup.

Add the egg yolk and mix well, then fold in the flour, ginger and cinnamon.

Wrap in cling film and return to the fridge for 1 hour to let the butter harden.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use biscuit cutters to make your favourite shapes.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool, then top with royal icing.

Royal icing – whisk together 1 egg white, 1.5 cups icing sugar and 1/2 tsp lemon.

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Pineapple sorbet

I always expected sorbet to be a similar process to making ice cream, but I was surprised to notice just how much the formulae match.

Generally, you start by making a stock syrup which is the equivalent of the custard made for ice cream.

You can then infuse the stock syrup with spices and herbs for extra kick, before adding your main flavouring.

With sorbets, it is usually a fruit puree but you can consider ingredients like coffee, chocolate or coconut.

If you’re really adventurous, you could try a savoury sorbet such as this tomato and anchovy concoction from one of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne -http://movida.com.au/anchoa-recipe/

As with ice cream you need to churn the mixture to prevent the development of ice crystals and deliver a smooth texture.

After staying safe with vanilla and chocolate ice creams over the last couple of weeks, I was keen to experiment with my syrup infusion so added a few star anise to the mix.

I matched it with fresh pineapple which is season at the moment, and was really pleasantly surprised with the result.

My sister asked immediately what the “funny taste” was before proclaiming that she didn’t like it.

But everyone else in the family, myself included, really enjoyed the extra layer of flavour.

If that’s not your thing, you can try matching pineapple with cinnamon or dried chilli.

Other flavour combinations to try are:

Melon and mint
Lime and basil
Lychee and rosewater
Strawberry and black pepper

Pineapple sorbet with star anise

2 ripe pineapples
2 lemons
340g caster sugar
60ml glucose syrup
400ml water
3 star anise

In a saucepan bring the water, sugar and glucose syrup to the boil. Add the star anise, then leave for boil for 30 seconds before removing from the heat and covering. Leave to infuse and cool.

In the meantime, remove the skin and core from the pineapples then puree the flesh.

Pass through a fine sieve and then combine with 400ml of the cooled stock syrup.

Churn the mixture for 15-20 minutes.

Coconut milk ice cream with cherries and chocolate (aka Cherry Ripe ice cream)

Coconut ice cream with cherry and chocolate (aka Cherry Ripe ice cream)
Coconut ice cream with cherries and chocolate

This week I wanted to make an ice cream with a different type of base, and I’m a huge fan of coconut so used coconut milk.

You can use coconut milk to make vegan ice cream and there are lots of recipes out there where you throw coconut milk, sugar and vanilla into a blender and then freeze it.

But I didn’t want to lose the richness of a custard based, so added eggs to the mix.

It’s basically the same as making a regular ice cream base – just heat up your coconut milk with a bit of sugar (infusing with flavour enhancers if you want) then pour over a mix of beaten eggs yolks and sugar.

I also added some extra milk to make the ice cream stretch further and reduce the strong flavour of coconut a little bit.

Interestingly, this ice cream set best of all my attempts yet. To the point where it needed to be left out of the freezer for a few minutes before trying to scoop.

Cherry Ripes are one of my favourite Australian chocolate bars and something I used to always get my family to send me when I got homesick living overseas.

So this ice cream is my homage to the iconic Cherry Ripe – I just added chopped dark chocolate and fresh cherries to the ice cream when it was in its final stages of churning.

You won’t get a crazy cherry flavour hit, but it gives the ice cream a kick of freshness and cuts through the rich coconut base.

Coconut milk ice cream with cherry and chocolate (aka Cherry Ripe ice cream)
1 300ml tin coconut milk
1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 egg yolks
ÂĽ cup milk
1 extra tablespoon caster sugar
ÂĽ cup chopped dark chocolate
ÂĽ cup chopped fresh cherries

Heat the coconut milk with 1 tablespoon caster sugar over a medium heat until it comes to the boil.

Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon caster sugar until pale.

Pour the coconut milk over the egg mix, whisking the whole time.

Return to a low heat and allow to thicken slowly, ensuring the eggs don’t curdle.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Place in ice cream churner and mix for 10 minutes, then add in the chocolate and cherries.

Place in freezer until set.