Pistachio white chocolate chip cookies

Saturday afternoon. A hankering for chocolate chip cookies. Severe lack of recent grocery shopping. It’s experiment time!

For these cookies I used my regular chocolate chip recipe but with some major flavour alterations. Dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and a dash of vanilla became white chocolate chips, pistachios, a pinch of cardamom and some rosewater essence. I ate 4 in a row straight out of the oven so I’m calling these a success!

white chocolate chip cookies

125g soft butter
2/3  cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 teaspoon rosewater essence
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Cream the butter and the sugar, add the egg and rosewater essence and beat until just combined. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto trays lined with baking paper, and bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C. Cool on trays about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

This made about 30 cookies.

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Valentine’s Day Coconut Cookies

I have so many different shapes of cookie cutter stashed away at home. I have never used any of them. I thought a pre-Valentine’s Day morning tea would be a perfect excuse to test out the heart-shaped cookie cutter!

Now, the last time I tried to make biscuits that involved rolling out dough and trying to cut out shapes was years ago and is referred to as the infamous gingerbread incident. It involved tears, screaming, throwing dough on the ground and locking myself in the bathroom. It wasn’t pretty. So this attempt had the potential to go badly…

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125g butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer/beater. Add the egg and beat in well. Stir in the flour and the coconut in two batches. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead lightly until it all comes together and is smooth. Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 5mm thick, then put that in the fridge for about half an hour.

Cut shapes out of the dough with whatever shape of cutter you like, lay them on paper-lined baking trays, and bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 12 minutes. While they are baking, gather the remaining dough up, re-roll it, put it back in the fridge. Basically just keep repeating the process until you’ve used as much of the dough as you can to cut out and bake the cookies. You can do whatever you like with the last scraps – I like to eat the dough raw at that point 🙂

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What I did to decorate these was to make a super basic icing from icing sugar, water, food colouring and a few drops of rosewater essence. I used a piping bag just with the end cut off to decorate, and my piping skills are far from great, but I think they ended up looking fairly cute anyway.

Valentine's Day cookies

Rosewater and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies are so easy to make, and really they can be adapted to suit any range of flavours. I’ve made them flavoured with just with a heap of mixed spices (which smells amazing) and also with glacé cherries and toasted slivered almonds. Also, unlike many shortbread recipes, there is no call for rice flour – this makes them so much easier to just whip up with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

They are easy to make, and the recipe makes quite a few – it all depends how thick you roll and cut the cookies. I packaged them up into some pretty glass jars and gave them as Christmas gifts this year!

2 ¼  cups plain flour
250g butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater essence
2/3 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Sift flour into a large bowl.  Cream butter, add rosewater essence and sugar, beat well. Add flour and nuts, mix until dough clumps together.  Turn out onto clean benchtop and knead until smooth and the dough all comes together.  Roll into logs, wrap in glad wrap, refrigerate until firm enough to slice (about an hour should do, but overnight is fine as well if you want to make the dough in advance).

Slice logs, bake 10-15 minutes at 180C. The time will depend on how thick you slice the cookies, the thicker your cookies the longer they will take to cook. Watch them carefully after 10 minutes – they should be starting to turn just golden around the edges when they’re ready, but they’ll go brown and taste burnt very quickly after that.

Cool them on wire racks, then store in an airtight container – they’ll keep for a couple of weeks (if they don’t get eaten first!).

Chocolate and Rosewater Cupcakes

I love turkish delight. I love the real thing – big soft pieces dusted in icing sugar -and I love the chocolate coated turkish delight bars or the little ones that come in big boxes of assorted chocolates. I especially love it combined with dark chocolate. So of course I wanted to turn this combination into cupcakes!

My main problem is that I’ve never really found a good chocolate cupcake recipe. Chocolate chip muffins, yes. Chocolate cupcakes, not so much. My basic recipe is vanilla, and it doesn’t convert well to the rich chocolatey mixture that I was after, so a whole new recipe was required. Here’s the one that I tried:

100g dark chocolate
1 cup (250ml) water
125g butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (255g) brown sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
½ cup (75) plain flour
¼ cup (30g) cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Cream the butter and then add the sugar and beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Add the flours and cocoa powder and stir until just combined. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This will make about 24 cakes, but I found the paper cases came away from some of the cakes themselves a little bit, which concerned me. They tasted great, but it didn’t help their appearance!

I decorated them with rosewater buttercream – basic buttercream with some rosewater essence and a few drops of pink food colouring – and some chocolate buttons. I took them to work and they disappeared really quickly!