Friday, 21 June 2013

2012 - Mince Pies Not Words

I'm not sure if these Mincemeat Pinwheels can be called cookies but they certainly qualify as Christmas goodies. Personally, I don't like mincemeat — in the form of pies or otherwise. But my English husband considers it an integral part of Christmas. He usually just buys the mass-produced mini-pies available at every supermarket at this time of year. But I watched Lorraine Pascale's "Last Minute Christmas" on BBC2 and saw this recipe, so I thought I'd give it a bash.

All you need is puff pastry (pre-made, of course!), mincemeat and an egg. Maple syrup and powdered sugar are optional. I used pre-made mincemeat too! However, I doctored it up with a bit of orange zest, port and vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the puff pastry sheet so that it measures 30x30 centimeters. Cut it into nine squares (10x10 centimeters each). I saved the scraps and cut stars from them to decorate the top of the pinwheels.

Place one tablespoon of mincemeat in the center of each square. Whisk up an egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water; brush the edges of the squares. Then cut the pastry from just outside the mincemeat to each corner with a knife. Now pull up every other corner to the center, creating a pinwheel. Brush the top with egg wash and affix a star to the center.

Place the pinwheels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Brush the top of each pinwheel with maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I really enjoyed making these and my husband was quite pleased with their fresh, zesty flavor. If you like mincemeat pie, you'll love these!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

2012 - Slice and Bake — and Partake

After a shopping trip to Oxford, I came home and baked Grandma Baker's Overnight Cookies two ways. Charlie doesn't like nuts and mine have pecans; I made two dozen each.

I made the dough yesterday and left it to rest in the fridge in paper towel tubes. The rolls hold their shape better when I slice them that way. (Also, I turn the roll as I slice, so that one side doesn't get flattened in the process.)

I decided at the last minute to try sprinkling them with sanding sugar . It's an improvement in taste and looks. I also followed my own advice from last year too and used more pecans (in mine!).

The dough for Cinnamon Swirl Cookies was ready to be worked today too. I had two rectangles in the fridge. These are rolled out to larger rectangles, then topped with a filling of cinnamon, sugar, pecans and orange zest. I debated whether I wanted to zest or not and kept it in the end.

The dough was a bit fiddly, so I kept some of the scraps handy for repairs! After I spread out the filling, I rolled the rectangles into logs, patched and sealed them, popped them into paper towel tubes and refrigerated for an hour or so (while I baked Overnights).

They were superb! Especially warm and fresh from the oven. They're better than Snickerdoodles because you get a blast of cinnamon in every single bite. The filling is sweet and soft and buttery; the cookies tender and chewy. I'll have to test them again when they're cooled and ready to be put away.

*They tasted great about an hour later. And they tasted great even later when I packed them up for the freezer. These are definitely going on the list for next year's Christmas cookies.