13 October 2017

SOFT FUNFETTI COOKIES

Cookies are always fun to make, but they are even tastier when they have an abundance of sprinkles. These soft and chewy cookies are quick and very easy to make, and you can add as much sprinkles as you like.
Experiment with different sprinkles, to adjust them completely to your taste - I like these fruit-flavoured ones. If you can buy the different flavoured sprinkles, definitely do buy them.
Perfectly soft and chewy, with tiny crunchy sprinkles, they are quite fragile when they come out of the oven, so don't be tempted to overbake them, remove or eat them straight away. Let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, then enjoy them with a tall glass of milk.


Ingredients
120 grams butter, softened
150 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
250 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
200 grams sprinkles

Preparation
Dice the softened butter and place it into a large bowl. Sift together the plain flour with the cornflour and the baking powder and set it aside. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on high for a full minute, until very light and creamy. Add the sugar and continue to mix, on high, until well combined. Add in the egg, almond and vanilla extract and a tablespoon of the flour mix, and blend on high, until completely creamy and light in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you blend. Once it is well blended, add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated, then add the sprinkles and mix with a rubber spatula to distribute them evenly.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the batter and arrange it on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper. Make sure you leave quite a bit of room between them, because they will spread as they bake. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 170˚C (340˚F), for 8-10 minutes. Do not be tempted to bake them longer, because they will burn on the edges. As they will be quite soft and fragile when you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Yields 24 cookies.

06 October 2017

BEST EVER MARSHMALLOW BROWNIES

It really isn’t a secret how much I love marshmallows and brownies, so this seemed like a natural dessert combination for me. These are so fudgy and delicious, yet so amazingly easy to make. If you don’t have a mixer, or don’t want to use it, you can make them by hand, just using a wooden spoon.
They are quick to make, too - in under 30 minutes, you could be enjoying the symphony that is the combination of chocolate and marshmallows. I used miniature marshmallows, but you can use regular or jumbo ones, just make sure to cut them in half. And you can even use coffee marshmallows, for the ultimate dessert combination!


Ingredients
150 grams plain flour
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
200 grams granulated sugar
120 grams butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
100 ml whole milk
100 grams mini marshmallows

Preparation
Sift together the flour and the cocoa powder, then set it aside. Add softened butter to a large bowl, add in the sugar, and blend with an electric mixer on low, until smooth. You do not need to whip much air into the butter and sugar, you just need them combined and creamy. Add in roughly half of the dry ingredients, and blend with a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon. Pour in the vanilla and the milk, blend briefly, then add the rest of the dry ingredients, along with the mini marshmallows.
Blend with a spatula until just combined; any more mixing will make them tough and crumbly. Line a small square pan (20x20 cm) with baking paper, then pour in the batter, and smooth it out. Bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-20 minutes. Test the brownies with a toothpick around the 15-minute mark, to make sure they do not overbake. Yields 9 brownies.
Baker’s note: You can add additional marshmallows on top in the final 5 minutes of baking.

29 September 2017

MINI CHEESE BISCUITS

Plain and simple, I love these cheese biscuits. I think I have made thousands of these over the years. They are very simple and straightforward to make – only five ingredients needed, and the spices are optional. You can make them in under 30 minutes, which really makes them great for parties and gatherings, or for when you simply want warm cheese biscuits for a snack. They also make great little sandwiches, and they are really good for dips.


Ingredients
250 grams Feta cheese
250 grams butter, softened
300 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt

Preparation
Add the softened butter into a large bowl, then beat with a hand-held mixer on medium setting, until creamy. Add in the Feta cheese, along with the spices, blend on low until combined, then increase the speed and blend until completely creamy. If you want to leave some larger pieces of Feta in the biscuits, you can, they will bake beautifully nevertheless. Gradually start adding the flour, blending with a mixer at first, then switching to a wooden spoon, until you get a soft, pliable dough. If it is really warm when you make these, place the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Lightly flour your work surface and quickly roll out to dough to about 5 mm thick, and cut out rounds with a small cookie cutter (2.5 centimetres). Line two large baking sheets with baking paper, then arrange the dough circles. These biscuits do not spread at all when baked, so have no worries about crowding the baking sheets. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately. Yields 80 small cheese biscuits.

22 September 2017

OVERNIGHT BAKERY-STYLE CRESCENT ROLLS

Crescent rolls are one of my most favourite things to bake. These are commonly found in bakeries, but also very frequently made in homes by many. Usually split down the middle and enjoyed with sweet or savoury fillings, they are so soft and fluffy, with a gorgeous crispy and crunchy exterior. The ingredients are simple, but the baked rolls are very delicious, as almost all old-fashioned pastries are.


Ingredients
For the crescent rolls
400 grams soft bread flour
250 ml warm water
100 ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For brushing
100 ml vegetable oil

Preparation
Mix the yeast with the sugar in a small bowl, pour in the warm water and let it sit in a warm spot for about 15 minutes. Sift the flour, set about 100 grams aside and put the majority in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast, oil, salt and apple cider vinegar. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to form, then knead with your hands for 5-10 minutes, gradually adding the flour you reserved, until you get a smooth and elastic dough that doesn't stick to your hands. Once the dough is ready, oil the bowl, place the dough in, oil the dough surface, then tightly cover it with cling film, and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. After the dough has slowly risen, knead it briefly or a floured work surface, then divide it into 12 pieces.
Shape each piece into a round, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, brush them with oil, cover them with cling film, and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Once the have risen, using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a irregular oval shape, then roll it up from one narrow end to the other, forming a crescent roll. Put the rolls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, brush them again with the oil, cover with a kitchen cloth and let them rise for 30 more minutes. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (395˚F) for 15-20 minutes. If you wish, you can brush them with butter as soon as you take them out of the oven, for a soft crust.

15 September 2017

MINI PIZZA CRESCENT ROLLS

These mini pizza crescent rolls are great to pack as a snack or even in a lunch box. Very easy to make, they can be filled with any cheese you like. The dough is pretty simple and flavourful, just make sure to knead it well. As with any dough, it is quite difficult to over-knead it by hand, so do not be afraid to knead it for longer than 5 minutes, if you think the dough needs it. If you are using a mixer with a dough hook, watch it carefully, as it is very easy to over-knead and make the dough dense and tough.

Mini pizza crescent rolls tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
350 grams plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon dried yeast
120 ml warm whole milk
1 teaspoon sugar
100 grams cottage cheese or Ricotta cheese
100 grams butter, softened
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
100 grams crumbled Feta cheese (optional)
50 grams butter, melted

Mini pizza crescent rolls tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation
Pour the warm milk in a small bowl, add the yeast and sugar, along with a teaspoon of flour, mix well and let the yeast activate in a warm spot, for about 10 minutes. When the yeast is bubbly, combine the softened butter, room temperature cheese, tomato spice and the rest of the spices in a large bowl, and blend them really well with an electric mixer. Add 4 tablespoons of flour and activated yeast and blend well again. Sift in the rest of flour, mixing the dough first with a wooden spoon, then with your hands, until you get a soft, pliable dough that doesn't stick to your hands. Transfer it to a floured surface and knead it by hand for about 5 minutes (add a bit more flour if the dough keeps sticking to your hands).
Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour. Gently knead the risen dough, then divide it into two equal parts. Roll out each dough part into a circle (about 5 mm; ¼-inch thick) on a lightly floured surface, then using a pizza wheel, cut each circle into 12 triangles. If you like Feta cheese, add a bit of it on the wider part of the triangle, then roll it up towards the smaller side. Brush each crescent roll with melted butter and arrange them on a non-greased baking sheet. Repeat with the second part of the dough. If there is some melted butter left, drizzle it over the rolls on the baking sheets. Let them rest for about 30 minutes, and bake them in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for 10-12 minutes. Yields 24 mini crescent rolls. © Tina Vesić