Valentine’s Day Recipe for Heart Biscuits

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Love is in the air this Valentine’s with this recipe for heart biscuits from Pixie Hall Cakes

Valentines Heart Cookies

Ah February, this month is full of love and cuddling up on the cold, dark evenings and hoping that spring will soon arrive. There are snowdrops peeking through the frosty grass in the church yard and spring bulbs are just showing their bright green stems in the garden. It’s nearly here! Not too much longer!

First we’ll get to Valentine’s Day. I know it can be commercialised and cheesy. The shops at this time of year are full of red and pink, in anticipation for the big day. I must admit, we’re not really into Valentine’s Day in our house. I am, however, into twee baking with lots of cutesy hearts. I can’t help it! I’m a total sucker for novelty.

So, with this in mind I’ve made these heart biscuits for you this month. They take a little time to put together but they are incredibly cute. You need a really good heart cutter with crisp corners and rounded edges (mine wasn’t quite perfect so the hearts came out a little pointy at the top). You also need a little time set aside to chill the dough so that you can work with it easily. I got the idea for this recipe from Laurens Latest but changed up the recipe and method a little bit.

Ingredients:

115g softened butter

115g sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla

200g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Red food colouring

Method:

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. You can do this by hand or with a mixer.

Add the egg and vanilla and mix again until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth.

Take one third of the dough and colour it red. You might need to use gloves for this or alternatively, pop the dough and the colouring into a sealable freezer bag and knead until thoroughly mixed.

Wrap both of the doughs in cling film and place in the fridge for around 30 minutes.

Take out the red dough and roll out thickly. Take your heart cutter and cut the dough and form the hearts into 2 stacks.

Take the plain dough and tear a couple of pieces off, roll them into sausages the same length as the heart stacks and pinch along one side to form a triangular shape. Stick these pieces in the cleft of the hearts (between the two rounded lumps at the top).

Roll out the rest of the vanilla dough and, starting at the point of the hearts, cover the outside with the dough and trim at the end. Squeeze the join together, gently round out the shape a little and pop them back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment. Using a sharp knife, slice the cookie logs into disks around 1/2cm thick. Place them on the baking sheet leaving a little room for the dough to spread.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pale golden at the edges.

Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linds Bestwicke runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

 

Recipe for Halloween Pinata Cookies

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This week’s guest blog is a spooooky recipe for Halloween Pinata Cookies from Pixie Hall Cakes

Halloween Pinata Cookies

I can’t quite believe that it’s October already. I also feel that I’ve been saying this every month since March. This year is disappearing before my eyes and I’m not sure I’m ready!

October for me is all about spooky. I love the dark nights that autumn brings and the chill in the air that means that winter is lurking just around the corner. I’ve been checking out all the skulls and spiders and creepy crawly things adorning the shops at the moment and I’m basically in my element. If I could have this stuff up in my house all year round, I would. Actually, I sort of do. I’m pretty sure about 75% of my belongings have skulls on them!

Aldiss asked me to pick something kid friendly and Halloween inspired for this month’s recipe and I was more than happy to oblige! I’ve been trawling Pinterest looking at all the amazing Halloween treats and wishing there were another 5 hours in each day so I could make one of each and have a super tasty Halloween party. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible so I opted for one of the latest baking trends doing the rounds at the moment and that is piñata cookies. They are really easy to make and so effective. Kids love finding the little surprises inside their cookies and can easily help with making them.

Halloween Pinata Cookies

The dough is a basic sugar cookie, it’s important to chill it thoroughly so that the cookies don’t spread during baking, that way you know your cookies will fit together. These can be made in any shapes you like but I chose some classic Halloween pumpkins and skulls for a spooky treat!

When filling the cookies, you want to choose something small enough to fit in the gap created by the middle cookie. I chose some bright blue bubblegum Millions and some tiny Halloween sprinkles made up of bats and pumpkins. Again, choose whatever you like and that will fit. There are so many options available that you can customise these to whatever theme you wish.

Halloween Pinata Cookies

On to the recipe:

Ingredients:

220g butter, softened
170g sugar
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
400g plain flour
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
To decorate:
Food colouring
Small sweets or sprinkles of your choice
Black writing icing

Method:
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt to combine. Add the flour mixture a third at a time to the butter mixture, stirring thoroughly between each addition.
Divide the mixture into 2 (or however many colours you are using) and add a few drops of food colouring if appropriate (I used orange for the pumpkins). Knead the colour through the mixture until evenly distributed.
Wrap each piece of dough in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When the dough is chilled, take one piece from the fridge and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and pliable. Try not to overwork the mixture.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to around 3mm thickness before cutting out your shapes with your chosen cutters. Remember: Each finished cookie will take 3 cut outs to complete so make sure you count out enough. Place the cookies on to trays lined with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife, cut a hole in the centre of a third of the cookies, these will form the hole in the centre that you put your sprinkles/sweets in. You need to make it big enough for your sweets without stretching the dough. It might be best if the kids don’t help with this step.

Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes; keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Repeat the process for the other half of the cookie dough.

Once cold, it’s time to assemble the cookies. If you check the photos, they will show you where to place the icing and how to assemble for the next steps.

Take the writing icing and ice a line just inside the edges of one cookie. Place one of the cookies with a hole in on the top and fill the gap with sprinkles. Make sure the sprinkles lie flat otherwise the top cookie won’t fit. Ice another line of frosting and add the top cookie. Decorate the front however you like and serve!

It may seem like a lot of work but actually, these are pretty easy to put together once you’ve got the process sorted. They come together quickly after the cookies are baked and kids will love to help to decorate them too.

Happy Halloween!

 

Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Father’s Day Chocolate Cookies Recipe

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This week’s guest blog is a recipe for some Father’s Day inspired Chocolate Cookies from Pixie Hall Cakes

 

It’s definitely feeling warmer outside. I’ve broken out my shorts from their winter in the back of the cupboard, dug my flip flops out from under a slew of winter boots and dragged my sunglasses out from the bottom of a long forgotten handbag. It’s lovely.

I’ve been thinking about posting some more experimental recipes here. I’ve wanted to post some “free from” recipes as I know there are lots of people who can’t eat certain things. I thought I should start with something simple and gluten free to get you used to the idea.

With Fathers Day around the corner, I chose a chocolate cookie.  My dad loves a homemade cookie with a cup of tea or coffee and, as chief taste tester of Pixie Hall treats, he has confirmed that these are 100% dad approved.

Chocolate Cookies

These cookies don’t require any special ingredients to make them gluten free. It can be off putting to find a gluten free recipe that calls for 5 different kinds of exotic flour or ingredients you’ve never heard of. These are tasty and can be knocked up in half an hour. It may sound weird that the recipe doesn’t have any flour or butter but it definitely works. Trust me! You’ll end up with a crispy, crunchy, super chocolate cookie that’s perfect with a cuppa. You don’t have to be following a gluten free diet to enjoy these cookies.

 

Ingredients:

200g Milk Chocolate Chips

200g Dark Chocolate Chips

300g Icing Sugar

45g Cocoa Powder

1½ tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Egg Whites

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the chocolate chips, icing sugar and cocoa powder together.

In a cup or small bowl, briefly whisk the egg whites and vanilla together until combined. We’re not looking to incorporate air into the egg whites, we just want them to combine with the vanilla and break down slightly.

Pour the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly until combined.  It will take a bit of work to get all of the sugar and cocoa combined with the egg whites but persevere, it will work.

Using a small scoop or a tablespoon, place the cookies onto the baking tray spacing well apart to allow them to spread while baking. Depending on the size of your trays, you might need to bake the cookies in a couple of batches so just fit them on the trays as you can.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until crisp. Don’t overbake them (they burn quickly!)

Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

 

Linds runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography