Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ANZAC Biscuits #CreativeCookieExchange

ANZAC biscuits are a traditional cookie Down Under made with oats, coconut and golden syrup. These biscuits – always biscuits and never cookies – can be baked chewy or crispy and that’s a point that divides families.



This month our Creative Cookie Exchange group theme is Healthy Cookies. My younger daughter and I were brainstorming ideas – I was pushing for a homemade Hobnob (a crispy oat cookie) when she suggested ANZAC biscuits. When we lived in Kuala Lumpur the first time, we enjoyed home baked ANZAC biscuits at least once a year, when one of our Australian friends made them for ANZAC Day. Happily, she also shared her recipe.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, a joint outfit that fought together during World War I. ANZAC Day, which falls on April 25th every year, is a national holiday in Australia that has grown from its original intent in 1916 to honor the more than 8,000 Australians who died in the campaign to take Gallipoli, to a day to honor all who have fallen in military and peacekeeping missions.

There are several stories about the origin of ANZAC biscuits. One says that they were baked to send overseas in care packages to soldiers. More likely, say historians, they were created and baked to sell at fundraisers to collect money for the war effort. Original ANZAC biscuits were made only of flour, oats, and butter with syrup as the binding agent. They had a long shelf life and were full of energy and nutrition. Coconut has become a popular, later addition.

First, a word about the units of measure. Australian cups and tablespoons are not the same volume as American cups and tablespoons.

1 Australian cup = 8.45 fl oz
1 US cup = 8 fl oz
1 Australian tablespoon = 4 teaspoons
1 US tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

Mercifully, the teaspoons are equal. To make this the least complicated as possible, I’m going to leave the cups the same, since they are 1:1 anyway, but add the gram measurements of an Australian cup of rolled oats, flour, sugar and butter, if you want to use a scale.

Ingredients
1 cup or 120g rolled oats (Don’t use the quick cook oats.)
1 cup or 132g plain flour
1 cup or 237g caster sugar
3/4 cup or 75g coconut
1/2 cup or 125g butter
8 teaspoons golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda, not baking powder)
8 teaspoons boiling water

Method
Preheat your oven to 300°F or 150°C and line two cookie sheets with baking parchment or silicone liners.

Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.

Combine butter and golden syrup in a saucepan (or microwaveable bowl) and use your heat source to warm them gently until the butter is melted.



Mix the soda with the boiling water and add it to the butter mixture (it should froth up) and then add the whole lot to the oat mixture. Stir well.



Use a cookie dough scoop or a couple of spoons to divide the dough into about 24 pieces, placing them on your prepared pans.



Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the pans mid way through baking time so they will brown evenly. If they are undercooked, they will be soft in the middle. If they’ve run together a little bit, just use a knife to gently separate them.



Remove the biscuits from the pan while warm and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.



Store in an airtight container for up to a week. If they last that long.

Enjoy!



Many thanks to my dear friend Glenys, for being the kind of friend who not only shares her recipes, but one whose friendship over the years has helped me stop questioning my sanity. Knowing she chose this same nomadic life means I must not be nuts, but if I’m crazy at least we are both crazy together. Everyone should be blessed with a friend like Glenys.

A big thank you also to Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories and Holly of A Baker’s House for stepping up to create and update the link list. Want to see the rest of our healthy cookies? Check out the list below.



Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Honey Oatmeal Bread #BreadBakers

This honey oatmeal bread is baked with all-purpose flour, wholemeal flour and oats, with just enough honey to slightly sweeten it. It has a tender crumb and a crunchy golden crust.


This month my Bread Bakers are here to support your efforts to eat healthier, if indeed, you are making an effort. I know there are a lot of people who make resolutions of such things this time of year. You might well be one of them. Here’s what I can promise you, even if you are not: The Bread Bakers are a talented, creative group. The breads they bake will be delicious, whatever the theme.

Our host today is Pavani from Cook’s Hideout and so "healthy breads" for January is her chosen theme. Since my co-creator of Bread Bakers stepped down a few months ago, Pavani has been a big help behind the scenes and I am grateful to her for stepping forward to take the first month of 2017. In fact, thanks to lots of members volunteering to host, we’ve got some great themes coming up for you this year! Stay tuned for February when we will take on pancakes.

Perhaps this could be the year you start baking homemade bread! Think about it. This may be a much easier resolution to keep than most. You can start with this easy honey oatmeal bread.

Ingredients
1/4 cup or 60ml warm water
2 teaspoons active dried yeast
1/4 cup or 60ml honey
1 cup or 240ml milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the bowl/pan
2 - 2 1/2 cups or 250- 312g flour
1 cup or 120g wholemeal bread flour
3/4 cups or 70g oats - quick cooking, but not instant
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Optional - to decorate before baking:
2 tablespoons runny honey
2 tablespoons rolled oats

Method
Honey has antibacterial properties and, depending on how the honey was processed, these might kill your yeast. So we start this bread by proofing our yeast in a bowl with the warm water and a generous heaping teaspoon of the honey. If it bubbles and foams after a few minutes, you are good to go. (And you don’t have to do this step with that particular jar of honey again. It’s safe for future baking.)



Note: This recipe can be made by hand, however, the dough is fairly slack so kneading it will be a sticky challenge.

In a microwave-proof measuring jug, heat your milk and butter until the butter just melts. Allow to cool until warm. Pour in the rest of the honey. It will sink to the bottom so stir until the honey has dissolved into the milk.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the yeast mixture to 2 cups or 250g of the all-purpose flour, the wholemeal flour, the oatmeal and salt.



Pour in the milk/butter/honey liquid and mix until it comes together as a soft dough.



Switch to the bread hook and knead for about 5-7 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add the extra flour, as needed, by the teaspoonful as it kneads. I ended up using about half of the additional flour for this particular loaf.

Form the dough into a ball. Use a little butter to grease the bowl, moving the dough ball around the bowl as you butter. Cover, put in a warm place and leave to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes or one hour.



Line a standard bread pan with parchment paper or grease it liberally with more butter. My pan is not in the best condition so I always choose the parchment paper route.

Punch the dough down and give it a few more turns of kneading. Form it into a log and put it in your prepared loaf pan.



Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled again, another 45 minutes or 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C, placing an iron skillet or other heavy cooking pan on the bottom shelf.

Boil your kettle with about 2 cups or 480ml water.

Once the dough has risen sufficiently, drizzle it with the extra honey and sprinkle on the rolled oats.




Put the loaf pan on the middle shelf in the oven and pour the hot water into the heated skillet or baking pan on the bottom shelf. Quickly close the oven so the steam does not escape.

Bake the loaf for about 40-45 minutes or until it’s brown all over and cooked through. If you have a instant read thermometer, the internal temperature should be 200°F or 93°C for an enriched bread made with milk and butter. If your loaf is browning too fast, cover it lightly with a tent of foil.



Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.



Enjoy!




Check out the Healthy Breads that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.


BreadBakers

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baked Kibbeh with Yogurt Sauce #SundaySupper

Lean beef seasoned with mint, onion, cumin and allspice is mixed with bulgur wheat then baked in small balls till golden. Perfect for dipping in garlicky yogurt sauce. If you have a large iron skillet or another heavy baking pan, baked kibbeh gives you all the flavor and crunch of traditional kibbeh, without the oiliness of deep-frying. These can be served with sandwich fixings or simply with the yogurt sauce for dipping.



Searching for kibbeh recipes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many varieties and options. Lamb is typical, but beef is a close second. Sometimes the bulgur wheat is mixed throughout the meat, as in my recipe below, and sometimes it’s mixed just with part of the meat. In that case, the bulgur mixture is used as a filling with seasoned meat on the outside of the kibbeh. Most are deep-fried. The baked kibbeh is often made in one big piece, then cut apart into slices like pie. The deep-fried ones are made into elongated balls (like mine) or into patties.

As with many recipes that are claimed by various cultures and countries, everyone thinks theirs is the most authentic, the most traditional, the most like mom used to make, in a word, the best. Since I come from none of those cultures or countries, I can do what I want without fear of elderly relatives scolding me. So I make individual kibbeh and bake them.

The soaked bulgur wheat adds moisture to the kibbeh so you can use lean ground beef, making them an even healthier option.

Ingredients
For the kibbeh:
1/2 cup or 105g medium coarse bulgur
Leaves from a small bunch fresh mint, picked off and washed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 lbs or 575g lean ground beef
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the yogurt sauce:
1 cup or 245g Greek plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional to serve:
Yogurt sauce
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced cucumbers
Flat bread

Method
Pour the bulgur wheat in a big coffee mug. Pour enough boiling water to cover the bulgur by about one inch or 2cm. Cover the mug with a saucer and set aside until the water is absorbed. Fluff it with a fork into a large mixing bowl.

To make the yogurt sauce, add the lemon juice, garlic, mint and salt to the yogurt. Mix well and refrigerate. This is best done early in the process to allow time for the flavors to meld and develop.



Use a food processor to mince the mint leaves with the chopped onion.



Preheat your oven to 410°F or 210°C with a large iron skillet or heavy baking pan inside.

Add the mint and onion to the bulgur, along with the cumin, allspice, salt and black pepper. Mix well.



Tip in the lean ground beef. Use your clean hands to mix and knead the seasoned bulgur into the beef.



Wet your hands and form the mixture into 20 balls, slightly fatter in the center and kind of pointy on the ends, like an American football. Keep wetting your hands to keep the meat from sticking to them.



Once the oven is preheated, remove the iron skillet and pour in half of the olive oil. Put the kibbeh in the skillet and put it back in the oven.


Set your timer for 18 minutes. When it rings, take the skillet out and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the kibbeh. Put it back in the oven and turn the dial from bake to broil (or grill, for my British readers). To clarify, turn your oven's upper element on so the top of the kibbeh will brown.

Keep an eye on it and remove the kibbeh from the oven when it’s golden, about 5-7 minutes.



Serve with the yogurt sauce to dip. You can also set out flatbread, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumber for those who would like to build a small sandwich. This makes a great appetizer or starter at a cocktail party.

Enjoy!



Today is National Sunday Supper Day – the second Sunday of January! We should be eating cake to celebrate but since we love you all so much, we decided that we wouldn’t sabotage your (and our own!) efforts to eat more nutritious meals in the New Year. Instead, we are bringing you lots of lean beef recipes! Many thanks to our host today, Sarah of The Chef Next Door and our event manager Cricket of Cricket’s Confections for their behind the scenes work.

Check out all the lovely lean beef recipes we are sharing!

Appetizers, Soups, and Salads

Ground Beef Recipes

Mains

Sandwiches and Wraps

Steaks

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

And sign up for our newsletter to get great recipes delivered right to your inbox every Thursday!

newsletter sign up #SundaySupper

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Baked Kibbeh: Lean beef seasoned with mint, onion, cumin and allspice is mixed with bulgur wheat then baked in small balls till golden. Perfect for dipping in garlicky yogurt sauce. #SundaySupper

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