Chocolate gingerbread

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A couple of weeks ago I was in Sainsbury’s when I spotted a giant snowflake cookie cutter. It was only £4 and with Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be perfect for trying out some Christmas biscuits. If you’re looking to purchase one they are available via eBay and other cake related online shops. £4 is a bargain as they can sell for as much as £16! Gingerbread has become very popular at Christmas with gingerbread houses, men and various other Christmas related shapes gracing magazines and shops. I’ll be honest and say I’m not overly keen on ginger. I knew I needed a biscuit dough that I could roll out and cut to use my cookie cutter so had been investigating different spiced Christmas biscuits. I came across this BBC Good Food recipe for chocolate gingerbread and thought that the chocolate might help distract me from the taste of the ginger! The recipe is originally intended to make an advent calendar so makes a good quantity. I made 3 large snowflakes and also made some reindeer (also using a Sainsbury’s cookie cutter).
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Blackberry jam crumble shortbreads

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I received John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes At Home’ for my birthday in August and until recently had not had the chance to try out any of the recipes. One of the recipes that had caught my eye was this blackberry jam crumble shortbread recipe. I love blackberry recipes and have been disappointed that I’ve been so busy that I’ve not been able to try anymore recipes other than this recipe and the autumn traybake I made back in August.
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Oat and raisin cookies – Take Two

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This week bakers around the country rejoiced – The Great British Bake Off is back! If you watched you will know that next week is biscuit week. Inspired by this and today’s terrible weather I decided today was definitely a cookie baking kind of day. I also decided that it’s time to get back to some of my cookbooks. I am forever pinning recipes I have found on the Internet to my Pinterest pages which means I neglect my stack of cookbooks.
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Cranberry & white chocolate shortbread

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Ah the holidays. I had planned to do so much baking. Mary Berry’s seeded breadsticks. Squidgy pear and chocolate cake. Carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple cream cheese frosting. Then I was ill. And the thought of food – one of my most favourite things in the world became my least favourite thing. Even the thought of baking. It has been a sorry old week in the Little Birdie household. Only now am I beginning to feel like facing food again.

I did however manage to make these shortbread on Thursday. I was visiting my lovely friend Kathryn who is allergic to egg so needed something biscuity without any egg – shortbread was the perfect solution. I had spotted this recipe in this month’s Good Food magazine and knew I wanted to give it a go so Thursday seemed like a good time. This is a Mary Berry recipe. It’s only the second time I’ve made shortbread and I have to say it wasn’t a complete success. It was a little crumbly and didn’t quite look like the picture. My husband was horrified at the inclusion of semonlina (having honed his baking skills working in the kitchen of a National Trust property he likes to think he knows what he’s talking about!) and was insistent that only flour, butter and sugar should be used! The semonlina is used to give the shortbread a crunch.

They are however tasty and go very nicely with a cup of tea or coffee. This recipe will make 8 wedges that will keep for up to a week in an airtight container or will freeze for 2 months (defrost at room temperature).
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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I made these last week for my lovely friend Emma who is currently trying to keep to a dairy free diet. I had spotted this recipe in the April edition of Good Food and you can find the recipe online here. They use vegetable oil instead of butter so are perfect if you’re trying to cut dairy out. They are soft and chewy but sadly mine ended up looking a bit more like rock cakes compared to cookies. You pour water over the raisins first to help them plump up and stop burning in the oven which was a technique I hadn’t used before.

This recipe will make approximately 25 cookies. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days – if they last that long!
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Vintage Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m not sure what exactly makes these ‘vintage’? According to the BBC Good Food website this is a ‘retro’ recipe (whatever that means!) Maybe they’re meant to take you back to your childhood when enjoyed with a glass of milk? Anyway, they are yummy and definitely hit the the chocolately, sugary spot.  It has been a busy week at work (with another busy one coming up) so I decided I need to bake something to say thank you to my colleagues for their enthusiasm towards the maths week I organised but to also keep us going through the forthcoming busy days. I had said I would make Cadbury’s Creme Egg brownies but with the sunshine today I felt something lighter was in order so decided to make this BBC Good Food recipe.

The bonus of this recipe is that it only needs one bowl and can be rustled up pretty quickly. The recipe makes approximately 20 soft and yummy cookies (depending on size).
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Caramel Shard Cookies

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I requested John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes’ as one of my Christmas presents and was lucky enough to receive it. Yesterday was a day to bake cookies and after trawling through some recipe books I remembered spotting this one and decided to give it a go. I will be honest and say I wasn’t 100% happy with how they turned out. I’m not sure what quite went wrong (although I suspect it’s either baking them for too long or making them too small in size) but they still taste ok. They are crunchy rather than chewy in texture. The recipe is supposed to make 20 however I only managed to make 17.
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Christmas Is Coming Part 3 – Lemon and Cranberry Cookies

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These were a BIG hit at work today. I have made them once before this time last year when they were very popular so I decided it was time to try them again. Although they are called cookies they are a cross between a cookie, a cake, a scone and a rock cake. They taste fresh , melt in your mouth and are perfect for this time of year. This is an American recipe from one of my favourite blogs ‘What’s Megan Making’. You can find the recipe here. As it’s an American recipe you will need some cups (or use a conversion website – I used one from the Delia Online website that you can find here). I made 15 cookies although I could have made them slightly smaller.
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Christmas Is Coming Part 2 – Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

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As promised another cranberry based cookie recipe. These cookies are packed full of Christmas flavour. Cinnamon – check. Cranberries – check. Chocolate – check. I made these last year and they were well received so decided to give them another go. The recipe is from the blog ‘What Megan’s Making’ which I am a fan of. You can find the recipe here. It is an American recipe so you will need some cups for measuring out the ingredients. It also gave me an opportunity to try out my new cookbook stand that I picked up in TK Maxx this week.
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Christmas Is Coming Part 1 – Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

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Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat…so it must be time for some Christmas inspired recipes! This time last year I became a bit obsessed with cranberry based cookie recipes. As December is now here I felt it was time to revisit some of these recipes. These cookies are from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery’ Cake Days book. I’ve made these once before and liked the flavour combination. We enjoyed these today when we made a Starbucks pit-stop with friends on the way to a christening in Tunbridge Wells. I plan to post a few more cranberry based recipes over the next weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

I had intended to try out this recipe for macadamia and cranberry American cookies from the BBC Good Food website however when I saw the price of macadamia nuts in Tesco yesterday (£4.20 for a 250 gram bag!) I decided to think again. This is an easy recipe that you can make in one bowl – just be careful to not over bake them. I am still getting to know my oven and found they quickly went a little too brown and lost their chewiness. They would make a lovely festive gift for someone wrapped in cellophane or in a box and decorated with some festive ribbon. This recipe will make 10-12 cookies.
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