Cookbook 143: Classic Cookies – Biscotti Macaroons and More

Who doesn’t like a good biscuit/cookie/macaroon/biscotti? Yes, I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t like sweet food, which I just don’t understand, but ok maybe not everyone likes one. But for those of us who do, this book, the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Classic Cookies Biscotti Macaroons and More is a fantastic addition to your cookbook library.

Click on the link above and see the beautiful retro styling, it’ll take you back to retro… time… Anyway, I bought this on a clearance sale sometime ago, and then decided to make gingerbread and shortbread for Christmas (one of my family traditions), and then later the chocolate chip cookies for isolation. All of them were a hit, and I am interested in trying more recipes out in this book. Overall 4 out of 5 stars.

Gingerbread (makes 24 ish)

Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2.5 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup or treacle

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease oven trays, line with baking paper
  2. Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in sifted ingredients and syrup in two batches.
  3. Knead dough gently on a floured surface until smooth. Divide dough in half, roll each half between sheets of baking paper to 5mm thickness. Cut dough into shapes and place on trays 2.5cm apart.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, cool on trays

Notes on recipe:

  • I have skipped all the decoration steps, because if you want to decorate your gingerbread (you can see I didn’t), then you will want to do whatever you want to do to decorate it and there are plenty of YouTube videos and the like to give you ideas.
  • These were nice and gingery, they were well appreciated by everyone at Christmas, including Scott who doesn’t like ginger very much.
  • Also, don’t fret about the unsalted butter, if you only have salted butter it will be fine.

Traditional Shortbread (Makes 24)

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease oven trays, line with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter and caster sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the water and sifted flours in two batches. Lightly knead on floured surface until smooth.
  3. Divide mixture in half, shape each, on separate trays, into 20cm rounds. Mark each round into 12 wedges, prick with a fork and then sprinkle with white sugar.
  4. Bake about 40 minutes, leave on the tray for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut into wedges along marked lines and cool on the trays.

Notes on the recipe:

  • It’s good shortbread, nice and rich and full of tastiness.
  • This went pretty quickly because of all of the above reasons.
  • See how this doesn’t care whether your butter is salted or not? Just don’t worry about salted and unsalted butter

Chocolate chip cookies (makes 40 ish)

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 375g dark chocolate melts, chopped coarsely (or milk chocolate, or buttons like I used, whatever you prefer)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking trays with baking paper (I use three for this recipe and rotate them as I cook)
  2. Beat butter, extract, sugars and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in sifted flour and soda, in two batches. Stir in chocolate, cover and then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; place about 3cm apart on trays. Bake about 12 minutes, cool on trays.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Cook one tray of cookies at a time. You will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen swapping out trays.
  • Most baking paper can be reused for multiple batches, so don’t worry about changing it
  • Definitely don’t skip the fridging bit, that’s really important for this recipe
  • These are delicious, soft and chewy, and are a big win in this house.

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