Halloween biscuits

Halloween biscuits

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Now, I know what you’re all going to say… it’s past Halloween, so why are you only just putting up a recipe for Halloween biscuits Ellie?! In my defence, these were meant to go up before Halloween (obviously haha!) but I’ve been really busy at uni and didn’t get round to writing up the recipe. However, they were very kindly made for my blog by my sister and her friends, and they’re too beautiful not to go up, so you’re getting them now! The biscuit recipe and basic icing ideas would also work really well with autumnal themed cutters, or indeed Christmas themed ones (if that isn’t getting too festive too early!)

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For the biscuit dough:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For decorating:

  • Orange and black ready roll icing
  • Vanilla buttercream
  • Red, green, white and black writing icing pens
  • 10 marshmallows

2 large baking sheets, lined with baking paper

  • Heat your oven to 180°C
  1.  For the biscuit dough, put the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until they form a smooth, creamy mixture.
  2. Sift in the flour and cinnamon and combine until you have a soft dough.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and wrap with clingfilm before putting in the fridge to chill.
  4. When the dough has chilled for half an hour, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour, then roll out the dough to a thickness of 2 cm.
  5. Use your Halloween or Autumn themed cutters to cut shapes out of the dough, scrunching up and re-rolling the leftovers.
  6. Transfer your cookies onto the baking sheets and cook for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and put them on a wire rack to cool before you start decorating.
  7. When the biscuits have cooled, it’s time to decorate! Use your coloured icings to decorate your biscuits however takes your fancy. I also melted marshmallows in the microwave and drizzled them over a round biscuit to make a cobweb, before adding a black piped spider which looked really effective.
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Lemon and blueberry swirl cheesecake

Lemon and blueberry swirl cheesecake

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I thought the recipes on Bake Off this week were a bit odd, the Spanish Windtorte looked pretty complicated (and like it needed a LOT of eggs!), and the 3 tier baked cheesecake was a bit over the top – who would actually ever bake and eat a 3 tier cheesecake?! Nadiya’s cheesecakes did look absolutely amazing though, and I loved her decorations. Tamal’s also looked and sounded really yummy, and it was a shame he didn’t get star baker, especially after his crème brulees, which looked so good. I’m glad Mat managed to redeem himself with the cheesecakes and wasn’t eliminated, even after committing the cardinal sin of Bake Off and serving Mary Berry coconut, not once but twice!

Since nobody in my house likes baked cheesecake – it does have a weird texture, and I think baking cheese is just wrong! – I decided to make a fridge cheesecake with a lemon shortbread base. This means that apart from the base, it doesn’t need any baking, so you don’t have to test that wobble! The lemon in the base and centre means the whole thing isn’t too rich, and the blueberry swirl gives it a fruity tang all the way through.

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Cranberry, hazelnut and dark chocolate biscotti

Cranberry, hazelnut and dark chocolate biscotti

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It always seems to be the case that we’re on holiday for biscuit week on the Great British Bake Off. However, I’m not one to let a small matter such as a foreign country, untranslatable ingredients and a lack of recognisable baking equipment stop me from baking along! Last year we were in Jersey (admittedly much easier to find ingredients!) when I made these (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/lemon-and-white-chocolate-biscuits/) lemon and white chocolate biscuits, and this year, in Croatia, I attempted biscotti.

I had already baked these and was sitting down to watch when Paul said that his (and Mary’s!) choice of biscotti recipe would involve hazelnuts, cranberries and dark chocolate…. the very combination I had chosen for mine! These biscotti really did have all the odds stacked against them: I was baking in 36 degree heat, with a very temperamental oven, no scales, and something I bought from the supermarket assuming it was plain flour…. in hindsight though, I’m really not sure it was! However, they actually turned out pretty well, they would definitely pass Paul’s ‘snap’ test, although admittedly do have a better texture once dunked in coffee!

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Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread

Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread

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These shortbread are the ultimate dunking biscuits – tea, coffee or hot chocolate, it doesn’t matter, they are just perfect! The chocolate layer melts so they can soak up just enough of the liquid while still retaining a crunch from the roasted almonds. They would be perfect served with scones as part of an afternoon tea, or simply on pretty, floral china as a spring afternoon treat!

This shortbread uses the classic 3-2-1 recipe, with 3 parts flour (with a little bit of rice flour for crumbliness!), 2 parts good quality salted butter and one part caster sugar, but the nuttiness of the roasted almonds takes them to another level entirely! It’s really important not to roll the dough out too thinly, as you want thick, crumbly shortbread and not thin biscuits.

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Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread:

  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 dessert spoons of rice flour or ground rice
  • 200g good quality salted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 80g whole almonds
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Heat the oven to 180C, then spread the almonds out on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then stir in the flours until you have a smooth dough (you may need to use your hands at the end!)
  3. Roughly chop the almonds and then mix them into the shortbread dough.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and then roll out to a thickness of 2cm.
  5. Either cut the shortbread into squares or use a cutter, then place the shapes onto a lined baking tray and bake for 18 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Transfer the shortbread onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. When they are completely cool, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then tip each shortbread into the chocolate so a third of it is covered, then leave to set on the rack.
Gingerbread biscuits

Gingerbread biscuits

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Welcome to Day 10 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These gingerbread biscuits are prefect to make with children. They can help with rubbing the butter and flour together, as well as rolling the dough out and cutting shapes. If you’re prepared for the sticky hands they will also love helping to ice and decorate the biscuits, but make sure you keep the lids on sprinkles which aren’t being used… we had an incident with silver balls and I think we’ll be finding them in the kitchen for a long time to come…!

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Rocky Road

Rocky Road

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Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These rocky road are the perfect Christmas gift, as they can be cut into neat little squares, which, when packaged in little paper bags with ribbon and labels look really cute. They would be great to give to teachers, relatives, or chocolate loving friends!

A couple of my friends (who shall remain nameless!) hate it when I put raisins in my rocky road, as they are ‘too healthy'(!), so for them I have made a plain version, simply with biscuits and marshmallows. I’ve also put the ingredients for a Christmassy version, with orange zest and ‘healthy’ dried cranberries.

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