I'm heading off to Canberra today to spend Christmas with family and to take some time off to recharge. Thank you so much for visiting me over here this year - I loved getting to know some of you and really appreciate your amazing support. I kinda love you guys (!!) and want to wish you a very happy and safe holidays. I hope you get some time to yourself and to celebrate with loved ones.
This month's Sweet Adventure's Blog Hop (hosted by lovely JJ) theme is Heavenly Holiday Truffles. Yes please. Truffles just so happen to be one of my favourite things to make - mostly because they are so quick and easy, but also because they are really fun to reinvent every time. This time, I thought I would take it up a notch and add a gingerbread biscuit base for crunch and some crystallised ginger for a festive touch. And squares because why not?
- 320g Butter, softened
- 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
- 2 and 1/4 cups Plain Flour
- 1 tbs Ground Ginger
- 1 tbs Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/2 Cup chopped Crystallised Ginger (optional)
Put the sugar and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow to medium speed until just incorporated. Add egg followed by vanilla and mix for about a minute until mixed in well. Sift in flour, ginger, cinnamon and salt then mix on low to medium again until just incorporated, making sure to scrape down sides of the bowl. Finally add the crystallised ginger and mix again. The dough is ready when it starts clumping around the paddle.
Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for at least an hour. Roll out onto a floured surface to about 0.5cm thick rectangle. Lay onto grease proof paper then refrigerate for another 15 mins.
Bake in a preheated oven at 185°C until the edges start to golden. Leave on the tray to cool completely.
- 200g White Chocolate, chopped
- 150g Double Cream
- 1/3 cup Crystallised Ginger, chopped finely
- Ground Cinnamon, to sprinkle
In a bain marie, melt chocolate then take off the heat and stir through cream. When smooth, mix in ginger.
Pour over gingerbread and chill for at least 2 hours until set. Sprinkle over cinnamon and cut edges straight before cutting into squares to serve.
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Yep, that's right. Gluten Effing Free. Which it turns out is not as easy as substituting some GF flour in any old recipe. D'oh! (D'ough?)
When I excitedly signed up for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap I never considered that it would actually be a challenge. I got my matches, one of which required Gluten Free cookies, and set about finding a recipe. I quickly found out that you needed a combination of flours to emulate the chewiness and crumb of normal flour. I knew I didn't want to go out and buy a bunch of flours that I probably wouldn't ever use again so looked for recipes using only every day ingredients. I tried some strange recipes (black beans and cayenne anyone?) and made a lot of messes before finally getting to these little Peanut Butter beauties.
They actually contain no flour - just sugar, egg and peanut butter with the baking soda transforming them into a cookie (rather than a lump of course) during the baking process. They weren't quite there so I added some dark chocolate chunks and filled their bellies with Nutella. Because chocolate makes anything better.
I sent my cookies to Faaiza from Modest Munchies, Cassie from The Aussie Kitchen and Fatima from Fati's Recipes. In return I received some amazing Ginger cookies from Mia at the Little Blue Bicycle (she's only 14!) and beautiful coffee meringues dipped in chocolate and almonds from Faaiza. They're all gone now so don't even bother asking me to share. Thanks guys!
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies (Recipe adapted from Whole Foods)
- 1 Egg
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
- 1 cup Peanut Butter (I prefer crunchy)
- 1/3 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped
- About 3 tbs Nutella
Beat egg, sugar, baking soda and vanilla with an electric mixer for 2 mins then add Peanut butter. beat for another minute before stirring through chocolate. Chill for at least 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and make 2 small balls for each cookie (about the size of a Macadamia nut) with your hands. Flatten with your fingers, spoon on some Nutella in the centre then cover with the other piece of dough. Seal the sides by pressing the two pieces of dough together. Do this for each cookie, spacing them at least 15cm away from each other. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden - it will have risen quite a lot. Cool on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.
Yield: About 30 small cookies
Yesterday was amazing.
We gathered in Centennial Park under a giant old tree, shared food and stories with each other at a long table before moving over to the grass to create wreaths from fresh native florals and foliage. Could there be anything more therapeutic?
Emma and I have been dreaming of this day for months and couldn't have imagined it going any better. I could go on forever but I'm going to let the photos do the talking for now. (There are more on my Facebook Page too). I do however want to acknowledge the many hands that made the day possible though. We are so very grateful to all of you.
Thank you so much to the 30 beautiful women who came - it was so great to meet you! Also thank you to Tessa who assisted us during the day (you're a superstar!) and of course a HUGE thank you to my co-hostess Emma. You are just so brilliant. Finally an enormous thanks to all our amazing partners - Timbermill Designs for the gorgeous 6 meter stretch of trestle tables; Atelier Lumira - your divine candles were such a treat; Sweaty Betty PR and Byron Bay Cookies for filling up our goodie bags; Flour & Stone - those cakes were faultless; Infinity Sourdough for the tasty bread selection; Yellowglen - the beautiful Peacock Lane by Samantha Wills Sparkling was as delicious as it was pretty; and Galina - I am forever in awe of your calligraphy skills. Those name cards were just stunning.