For Christmas my mother in law gave me a book called ‘One Girl Cookies’, a wonderful book from a Brooklyn bakery of the same name. What I loved most about the book is that it has recipes for really unique … Continue reading
One of my favourite biscuits is the Iced VoVo (below). They have a biscuit base, two lines of marshmallow and a line of jam with a light layer of coconut on top. While watching Masterchef a couple of years ago I learnt that these biscuits are Australian, and not sold elsewhere, which means that sadly the rest of the world does not get to enjoy this delicious biscuit. Until now! So this is pretty much a giant Iced VoVo, a delicious vanilla crumbly biscuit base, a layer of jam, topped with toasted marshmallow and coconut. Seriously tasty, and pretty easy to make. Enjoy!
(prep and cooking time 45minutes – makes 9 squares in an 8-inch square pan)
125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pressing dough into pan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon raspberry or strawberry jam
1/4 cup shredded coconut
15 marshmallows, cut in half
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 180C. Line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper (leaving some overhanging paper flaps on two ends). Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in vanilla bean scrapings (or vanilla extract) and egg yolk. Beat until well incorporated. Stop the mixer and add flour. Beat on low speed until completely incorporated, (you may need to pat it together with your hands).
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flour. With clean fingers, press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use a bit more flour as necessary so that the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. Try to make the crust as even as possible.
Bake crust for 20-24 minutes until golden brown around the edges, but still slightly soft in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Run a thin butter knife around edges of the pan. Use the two parchment paper flaps to carefully remove the crust from the pan. Run a butter knife between the crust and the paper and carefully slide the crust from the paper and onto a unlined baking sheet.
Top crust with a thin layer of raspberry or strawberry jam. Arrange marshmallows on top of jam. Return to the 180C oven for about 4 minutes. This will warm and soften the marshmallows. Remove from the oven and turn the grill onto high. Use the back of a spoon to gently press and smash the top of each marshmallow.
Once all the marshmallows are smashed, place in the grill. Keep a very very very very close eye on the marshmallows. They’ll toast in seconds. They’ll burn in seconds.
Remove toasted marshmallow cookie from the oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cookies can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be left, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.
This tart comes from Donna Hay’s “A Cook’s Guide”. It’s one of my favourite books as it has plenty of basic recipes such as sweet shortcrust pastry, sponge cake, roast beef, frittata etc. This is a family favourite now as it has a very subtle flavour that does not overpower thus allowing you to add extras like berries or ice cream without making the desert too sweet. Its also a very quick and easy one to make.
If I was making it for family dinner I would make it in a large loose-bottomed tart tin, however as it was just the two of us I decided to try out some new smaller tart tins. The original recipe also doesn’t have the lemon juice or the berries, but I really like the added flavour. I think this is a recipe that can be easily altered to suit your tastes.
Frangipane and Lemon Tart
Sweet shortcrust pastry
1 1/2 (225g) cups plain flour
125g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tbs iced water
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
100g butter softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk (extra)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup (120g) almond meal
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
1/4 cup (20g) flaked almonds
1/4 fresh or frozen berries
Place the four, butter and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and water. Process until the dough just comes together.
Turn onto a floured surface and gently bring together to form a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Roll the dough out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper until it is about 3mm thick.
Line a loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry. Trim edges and prick the base with a fork.
Line the case with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking weights. I didn’t have any so I just used rice.
Bake like this for 15minutes, remove the weights and baking paper and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is light golden.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and using an electric mixer beat until light and creamy.
Gradually add the egg and extra egg yolk and beat until just combined.
Stir through the almond meal, flour and lemon juice until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and top with the flaked almonds and berries. Bake for 30-35minutes or until set. Allow to cool in the tin.
Making these with Mum on a Saturday afternoon is probably one of my favourite memories, probably because I could eat them afterwards, and I used to think that Mum never knew I snuck them out of the fridge regularly. They are super simple to create and really fun with kids. These truffles are now one of my go to recipes for when you don’t have a lot of time and you have to bring a plate of food to something. I know about 100 people who make these and they vary them each time. This is the simple version, however I know people who add things such as dried apricots and other fruits, oats, chocolate pieces etc. There are a million variations i’m sure, a friend of mine once made them from oreo’s! It was so delicious I ate too many and had to have about 4 glasses of water post consumption!! My sister in law does a good variation, check out http://spendlessnourishmore.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/date-and-honey-yum-yum-balls/.
It you are looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, or just looking for an easy snack, try these, they are ALWAYS good.
- 1 250g packet of Marie biscuits (or any kind of basic not so sweet biscuit/cookie)
- 1 400g can of condensed milk (feel free to use the light stuff)
- 1 cup of desiccated coconut
- 2 tbs of cocoa
Crush the biscuits, as kids we used to do it with a rolling pin in a plastic bag, now I just use the food processor! I like to not process them too finely because I like the crunch of biscuit when eating the truffles.
Combine the crushed biscuits with coconut and cocoa.
Add the condensed milk, mix well and roll into balls.
Cover the balls with coconut. I use a zip lock bag and 1/2 a cup of coconut, gently shake and all the balls are quickly coated! But it is more fun to roll them yourself I suppose.
Refrigerate for about an hour before tucking in!