Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread #CreativeCookieExchange

Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread is the perfect cookie for your holiday table or cookie exchange. The rich buttery shortbread is enhanced by cinnamon and cocoa for a delightful treat that keeps well in a tin for days.

Food Lust People Love: Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread is the perfect cookie for your holiday table or cookie exchange. The rich buttery shortbread is enhanced by cinnamon and cocoa for a delightful treat that keeps well in a tin for days.


Six years ago, when I first moved to Dubai, I was invited to a cookie exchange. The hostess was a friend of a friend who lived on Palm Jumeirah so I was most excited to go. If you’ve ever looked up Dubai, you have no doubt seen photos of the Palm. In an aerial view, it looks like a great big palm tree, with multiple fronds arcing gracefully out in the Arabian Gulf. Each frond is a gated community of homes so without an invitation, the best one can do is to drive up the “trunk” to the hotel at the top of the palm tree.

The house was beautifully decorated for Christmas and because the weather at this time of year is lovely, we were able to sit outside overlooking the sea. Gorgeous! But the very best part was getting to meet some wonderful ladies and munch on cookies together.

This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is sharing cookies that last well in a tin, which I translate to mean, would also be perfect for gifting to neighbors and friends or bringing to a cookie exchange. These cinnamon chocolate shortbread cookies fit the bill.

Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread

This recipe is adapted from two I found on the internet, from the BBC Good Food site and Country Living. I topped mine with amber sugar crystals for a more festive look plus added sweetness and crunch. You can find them on Amazon if your local shops don't carry them. <affiliate link

Ingredients
3/4 cup or 170g butter, softened
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1 2/3 cups or 200g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 oz or 100g good quality dark chocolate, cut into small chunks (I used Lindt.)

Optional for decoration:
2-3 tablespoons amber sugar crystals (26-42g)

Method
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with electric beaters or, if you are feeling energetic, use a wooden spoon.

Sift in the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.



Mix well until you have a thick dough. Add in the chocolate bits and mix again.

Roll the dough into log about 2 inches or 5cm thick. Wrap the log in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or for several days. This dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month.



Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone mats.

Slice the log into 1/2 in or 1cm-thick rounds.

Transfer the cookies to your prepared baking pans.



Top with amber sugar crystals, if desired. Press them in gently to stop them falling off and then bake for 10-12 minutes in your preheated oven.



Cool on the pan completely before transferring the shortbread cookies to a serving plate or a cookie tin.

Food Lust People Love: Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread is the perfect cookie for your holiday table or cookie exchange. The rich buttery shortbread is enhanced by cinnamon and cocoa for a delightful treat that keeps well in a tin for days.


Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread is the perfect cookie for your holiday table or cookie exchange. The rich buttery shortbread is enhanced by cinnamon and cocoa for a delightful treat that keeps well in a tin for days.


Check out all of the lovely cookies that last in a tin! Many thanks to Holly of A Baker's House for hosting the group this month.



You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.


Pin this Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread!

Food Lust People Love: Cinnamon Chocolate Shortbread is the perfect cookie for your holiday table or cookie exchange. The rich buttery shortbread is enhanced by cinnamon and cocoa for a delightful treat that keeps well in a tin for days.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Blackberry Blue Cheese Walnut Loaf #BreadBakers

Slightly sweet with a good dollop of honey, each bite of this blackberry walnut blue cheese loaf is delightful mix of salty and fruity and nutty. It’s especially lovely toasted.

Food Lust People Love: Slightly sweet with a just touch of honey, each bite of this blackberry walnut blue cheese loaf is delightful mix of salty and fruity and nutty. It’s especially lovely toasted.


This month our Bread Bakers host is Renu, the author and recipe creator behind Cook with Renu. She challenged us to create a bread with fresh fruit, sweetened without white sugar. I cannot tell you how long I agonized over this one, until it suddenly occurred to me that Renu never said it had to be a very sweet bread!

Blackberry Walnut Blue Cheese Loaf

I am a fan of sweet and salty together and, when I can, I also love to add a bit of crunch, so nuts were essential. This lovely loaf was inspired by a muffin I baked a few years ago with thyme, goat cheese and blackberries.

Ingredients
1/4 cup or 60ml honey
1/4 cup butter or 56g
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon flakey sea salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 1/2 oz or 100g blue cheese
6 oz or 170g fresh blackberries
1/2 cup or g roughly chopped walnut, plus extra for decoration, if desired

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your loaf by lightly rubbing it with oil or lining it with baking parchment.

Crumble the blue cheese and set aside. Reserve some cheese for topping the loaf before baking.

Measure your milk and honey into a microwaveable vessel then warm in the microwave. Add in the butter, cut into cubes and set aside so the butter melts and the mixture cools.

Cut the large blackberries in half or thirds, leaving the little ones whole. When the butter mixture is just slightly warm, whisk in the eggs.



In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, salt and baking powder. Add the blackberries to the dry ingredients and stir to coat and separate the pieces.



Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and stir a couple of times.



Add in the blue cheese and walnuts and fold gently to combine.



Spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and top with the reserved cheese and walnuts.



Bake in your preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Food Lust People Love: Slightly sweet with a just touch of honey, each bite of this blackberry walnut blue cheese loaf is delightful mix of salty and fruity and nutty. It’s especially lovely toasted.


Allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Slightly sweet with a just touch of honey, each bite of this blackberry walnut blue cheese loaf is delightful mix of salty and fruity and nutty. It’s especially lovely toasted.


Many thanks to this month’s Bread Bakers host Renu from Cooking with Renu for the fun challenge! Check out all the other lovely no-white-sugar breads with fresh fruit we've baked for you 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. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Pin this Blackberry Blue Cheese Walnut Loaf!

Food Lust People Love: Slightly sweet with a just touch of honey, each bite of this blackberry walnut blue cheese loaf is delightful mix of salty and fruity and nutty. It’s especially lovely toasted.
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Monday, December 10, 2018

Orange Cranberry Gingerbread #BakingBloggers

Satisfy your gingerbread cravings this year with my pumped up orange cranberry gingerbread. Cover it with orange cream cheese icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gorgeous, either way.

Food Lust People Love: Satisfy your gingerbread cravings this year with my pumped up orange cranberry gingerbread. Cover it with orange cream cheese icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gorgeous, either way.


When my girls were little, we loved baking gingerbread as an afterschool snack, especially in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays. It wasn’t just that we liked eating gingerbread, well, maybe that’s why the girls liked baking it, but my favorite part, not being much of a sweet eater, was the delightful aroma that filled the house.

Ginger, cinnamon and deep rich molasses baking smell absolutely fabulous in the oven. If you’ve never baked gingerbread, you don’t know what you are missing.

Orange Cranberry Gingerbread

I’ve adapted this recipe from one on the lovely blog Indigo Scones, but if you read Ellen’s post, she got the original recipe from Joy the Baker so I must give both credit for the inspiration.

Ingredients
For the cake:
2 1/4 cups or 280g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 180ml canola or other light oil
3/4 cup or 150g granulated sugar
3 medium (or 2 large) eggs
3/4 cup or 180ml fresh orange juice
1/2 cup or 65g dried cranberries
3/4 cup or 180ml unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup or 60ml honey
zest from 1 large orange (mine weighed about 10.5 oz or 300g - big guy, lots of zest!)

To serve: powdered sugar or orange cream cheese icing

Optional but highly recommended – For cream cheese icing
8 oz or 227g cream cheese
1 lb or 450g powdered sugar
Zest 1/2 large orange
Pinch sea salt
3-4 teaspoons fresh orange juice

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 9×9-inch or 23cm baking pan by lining it with baking parchment paper. As you’ll see from the photos, mine turned out quite thick so if you couldn’t probably use an even wider pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.



In a large bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, and eggs until they turn thick and pale. I used my stand mixer because I already did my upper body exercises for the day swimming laps but you can certainly use a handheld whisk.

Heat your orange juice up in a small pot on the stove or in a microwaveable vessel until it is quite hot but not quite boiling. Add in the dried cranberries and set aside to soften.



Stir the molasses, honey, and orange zest in the bowl with the sugar, oil and eggs.



Now add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the wet ingredients. Stir together until entirely incorporated.



Remove a tablespoon or so of the cranberries from the orange juice (to use for decoration) and put them between two paper towels to dry.

Add the warm orange juice and the balance of the cranberries to the mixing bowl and gently stir until the batter is smooth, not counting the cranberries. Those will all sink to the bottom so keep that in mind as you pour the batter into your pan.



Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Try to distribute those cranberries at the bottom as evenly as you can.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. I made the mistake of trying to turn my pan halfway though and the middle sunk a little bit. Just leave it alone and yours should be fine.



Cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with the reserved cranberries and powdered sugar to serve or if you want to push the boat out, make the orange cream cheese icing.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or with electric beaters in another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and salt, along with the orange zest, until it is all well combined and lump-free.

Add just enough fresh orange juice, beating well in between additions, until you reach spreading consistency. Mine took about 3 teaspoons.

Spoon the icing on top of the gingerbread and spread it to the edges, letting just a little bit hang down the sides. Sprinkle on the reserved cranberries.

Food Lust People Love: Satisfy your gingerbread cravings this year with my pumped up orange cranberry gingerbread. Cover it with orange cream cheese icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gorgeous, either way.
Cut into squares to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Satisfy your gingerbread cravings this year with my pumped up orange cranberry gingerbread. Cover it with orange cream cheese icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gorgeous, either way.


Enjoy!

This month's Baking Bloggers theme is, I'm sure can guess by the list below: Gingerbread! Many thanks to our host Sue from Palatable Pastime and her able co-manager, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm.



Baking Bloggers is a friendly group of food bloggers who vote on a shared theme and then post recipes to fit that theme one the second Monday of each month. If you are a food blogger interesting in joining in, inquire at our Baking Bloggers Facebook group. We'd be honored if you would join us in our baking adventures.


Pin Orange Cranberry Gingerbread!

Food Lust People Love: Satisfy your gingerbread cravings this year with my pumped up orange cranberry gingerbread. Cover it with orange cream cheese icing or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gorgeous, either way.
 .