Christmas Project roundup – Chocolate Chip & Cinnamon Cookies

February 13, 2011 at 16:04 | Posted in Christmas Project, Recipes | Leave a comment

The second cookie recipe I’ve used for my Christmas Project was for Chocolate Chip & Cinnamon Cookies. This recipe was taken and adapted from a book I’ve recently purchased by Susanna Tee called “1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats”.

I have adapted the recipe as not to include cinnamon, which isn’t a favorite ingredient of mine…

225 gr. butter, softened
140 gr. caster sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp. orange extract
280 gr. plain flour
pinch of salt
100 gr. plain chocolate chips

Cinnamon coating (optional):
1 1/2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and orange extract. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture, add the chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.
To make the cinnaom coating, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish. Scoop out tablespoons of the cookie dough, roll them into balls, then roll them in the cinnamon mixture to coat. Place them on the baking sheets, spaced well apart.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

In Him,


Christmas Project roundup – Peanut Butter Biscuits

February 6, 2011 at 20:42 | Posted in Christmas Project, Recipes | Leave a comment

Here is the recipe for the Peanut Butter Biscuits which were featured on my Christmas Project. This recipe was given to me by my aunt Pamela while I was in South Africa and has never failed to turn out really good!

Picture courtesy of Google Images

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla essence

Sift together dry ingredients. Cream together sugar, butter and vanilla essence. Add peanut butter and beaten egg, mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until a dough is formed. Take dough pieces the size of a walnut and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Press each biscuit with a fork twice to create a criss-cross pattern (as shown in the picture). Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

I have used smooth peanut butter, as it is the only kind you may find here in Italy. However, I am sure ti will work just as well with the chunky one.
You also don’t need to space the biscuits very far away one from the other when you place them on the cookie sheet, as they will not spread much.
Last tip, roll the dough pieces fast, or either work with a little bit of dough at a time, and leave the rest wrapped in film, as it will tend to become quite dry as minutes go by.

Hope you will try it and enjoy it with family and friends!

In Him,

Christmas Project: Almond and Nut Cookies

October 27, 2010 at 21:22 | Posted in Christmas Project, Recipes | Leave a comment

Finally, I am able to post about the latest test batch of cookies I have made.

This time, I have picked Almond and Nut Cookies from a cute recipe box all about cookies I’ve received for Christmas a few years ago.

The cookies turned out to be very good, but the amount of work that goes into making the dough, spreading it regularly onto a level surface and waiting for it to set do not make them viable for my Christmas Project.

However, they are still extremely good cookies, with a nice nutty flavour, and I highly recommend them!

Please excuse the slightly blurry picture… my camera is acting up as of lately…

Here is the recipe!

Almond and Nut Cookies
150 gr. butter
100 gr. sugar
1 large egg
200 gr. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
125 gr. almonds, chopped
125 gr. nuts, chopped
pinch of salt

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and the sugar, until light and fluffy. Incorporate the egg, the sifted flour, the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix well and add the chopped almonds and nuts.
  2. Spread the dough regularly onto a cookie sheet (covered with baking parchment or foil) and let it set for 30 minutes.
  3. With a knife, cut the dough into small bars and place them on a cookie sheet.
  4. Cook at 170 C for 20 minutes.

My tips:

  • If the dough is too stiff when adding the nuts, add a tiny bit of milk to help incorporate them.
  • Make sure the almonds and nuts are not already toasted: they will toast as the cookies bake in the oven.
  • It would be a good idea to add the cinnamon to the flour before mixing it in. Adding the cinnamon after it makes it very difficult to get well and evenly amalgamated.
  • Chop both the almonds and the nuts coarsely, as it’s nice to feel the “crunchyness” in the cookies.



Plum Cake!

August 14, 2010 at 11:42 | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | Leave a comment

A few days ago, I was asked to make a plum cake to take over to another aunt’s house.

So I thought I should re-vamp a recipe that I found in one of my mom’s old cookery books, which works wonders! My aunt doesn’t like desserts that are overly-sweet, raisins or chocolate, that is why I have opted to keep the recipe plain. And I have also been using this recipe to make the base for cakes that I wanted to fill with cream/custard and ice.

The picture is slightly out of focus… apologies for that!

The ingredients needed are:

150 gr. of all-purpose flour
130 gr. sugar
100 gr. melted butter (cooled at room temperature)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons baking powder
100 gr. raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons vanilla essence 

First, beat the eggs and the sugar well in a bowl, until pale white. Then, add the melted butter (it has to be cooled down at room temperature) and the flour, mixing everything well. Pour in the vanilla essence and the raisins (if you are using them). Lastly, combine the baking powder.
Pour the batter in a greased and floured plum cake tin, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the plum cake comes out clean.
You may serve it with fresh fruits and cream on the side.


On a very happy note, congratulations to Nathan and Melanie Maxwell for the birth of their second daughter, Bethany Faith! May the Lord bless your little one!

Romans 8: 16-17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Fruit tartlets

August 8, 2010 at 12:39 | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | Leave a comment

I had one of my aunt’s birthday party last week and she asked me if, aside the tiramisu’ she was preparing, I could make a fruit dessert for the party.

A couple of months ago, I have purchased 8 nice tartlet pans and never had the chance to use them so far. So I thought it would be so nice if everyone had their own little fruit tart, as opposed to a slice of the big one! In this way, every person is able to get the same amount of fruit, crust and custard!

I have started off by making a basic pie crust, combining 220 grams of all-purpose flour with 100 gr. of soft butter (diced), 3 egg yolks and a pinch of salt. I worked the dough rather quickly, as it was quite hot and the butter does not have to melt in your hands. Then, I wrapped the dough in film and put it into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

After letting the dough chill, I started taking small amounts of it, while keeping the rest in the fridge: I found that it is actually easier to cut and roll each small crust individually, rather than rolling out the whole dough and cutting it afterwards.
I filled all 8 pans with the dough, made little holes in them with a fork so that they won’t rise much, and put them in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

I prepared a lemon and vanilla custard beforehand, and started filling the tartlets as soon as they came out of the oven. Then, I cut some strawberries and decorated each tartlet, along with some blueberries.
To finish them, I poured some clear tart jelly over them.

They were delicious!!!

God Bless,


A tribute to summer’s end

October 20, 2009 at 20:46 | Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Here in Italy, we have had quite a warm beginning of the Fall season: temperatures were still quite high from the beginning of September all the way through mid-October. That is when, all of a sudden, the freezing cold weather came down to us, prompting heavy coats and warm clothes. Razor blade chilling winds sweeping around leaving you with a terrible cold and a runny nose.

That is when I have fun remembering all things Summer!

I am pretty much the only “serious” baker in the family, and I happily perform my duties whenever a birthday or a celebration comes up. Of course, I also bake just for the fun of it, but doing it for a special occasion definitely adds to the flavor!

Cakes Galore Cover

For my mom’s birthday (in late June), this year I have decided to do something fruity and light: my choice went to the Strawberry Shortcake from “Cakes Galore“, a wonderful book by Valerie Barrett.
It was my very first time doing a Shortcake, and wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out.
Thankfully, it turned out pretty well, and was well received by all the guests at the birthday party!


Here is a nice shot of the cake…

Strawberry Shortcake 1

The only thing I would do differently next time, is that I would try and shape top and bottom layer a bit better, so that the filling would spread more evenly. I have also noticed that after it is baked, the dough does tend to become a bit dry: what I did was soak both layers with the juice released by the cooked strawberries to make everything softer!

The RecipeStrawberry Shortcake from Cakes Galore by Valerie Barrett

2 + 2/3 cups self-rising flour
1 + 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Generous 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 cup buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling (I used brown sugar)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, halved

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a baking sheet (Since my oven isn’t that big, I had to prepare 2). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Combine 5 tablespoons of the superfine sugar and the buttermilk in a bowl, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix to form a smooth dough, but do not overwork at this stage. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out each ball of dough to form a round about 1 inch thick.
3. Place the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Brush off any excess flour. Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with granulated sugar (I used brown sugar – love that caramel flavour it gives the cake!). Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
4. For the filling, whip the cream in a bowl until soft peaks for, then whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, mixing well. Set aside.
5. Put the strawberries in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of caster sugar and heat gently for 2-3 minutes to soften the fruit. Remove the pan from the heat.
6. Spoon the whipped cream onto the larger of the cooled shortcake rounds and spoon over the warm strawberries and juice. Top with the second shortcake round and serve immediately.
I topped the cake with a few sliced fresh strawberries – thought it looked really nice!

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