Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Cache Of Cookies Part I: When Indoors

Lemon and Craisin Cookies

A week has come and gone, the heavens have opened, the sun has shone and the rains have returned. The city is once again covered in a mantle of grey clouds, and is perhaps bracing itself for another destructive run. The rains’ homecoming was at first received gladly, although now that it has left our state with a potential billion dollar clean up bill, we are hoping that Mother Nature eases up a bit. Bring on the rains but hold off the floods and gale force winds please. If only the weather was as easy as ordering a chicken chow mein at your local take away; but unfortunately we have to take what can get.

Now although it’s great that we are finally getting some rain, what comes with it isn’t always that agreeable. The temperature has dropped and it is officially freezing outside, the hems of my jeans always seems to get wet no matter how high my shoes are, the ground is eternally muddy and my hair in a perpetual state of frizz. Now it may seem that this is just a lot of whining and it probably is; so what then is one to do when one is not in the disposition to contend with the wet weather and all that comes with it? Well I say, you stay home in your frumpy house clothes, forget about glamming yourself up and going out, your mascara will probably melt in the rain anyway, so just stay indoors and bake up a storm of your own. Well that’s what I did anyway.

Lemon and Craisin Cookies

A few months ago, I bought an Australian Women’s Weekly cookie compendium aptly titled Cookies. I looked at it, read the recipes, intently pored over the luscious photography then became too overwhelmed by the amount of recipes I wanted to make. I don’t know if this ever happens to you but when I get a new cookbook, the visual and palatal stimulation sometimes becomes too much for my imagination that I have to take a pause and put the book aside and leave it for later. That is exactly what happened to this book, it was shelved until my senses could cope with the cornucopia of sweet sights and ideas.

Now the question was which recipe would I make first? Well it so happens that on this particular rainy day, my pantry was going through a stocktake and clen out that was long overdue. I found jars of vegemite and packets of biscuits that had expiration dates literally from another millennium. I don’t know why I felt the need to hold on to packets of Le Snack from 1998 but nonetheless they were stashed in there as though waiting to be used as rations after some sort of nuclear fallout.

Lemon and Craisin Collage

But aside from displaying my adeptness at hoarding food like a squirrel, I found a packet of dried cranberries hiding behind an expired jar of Vegemite. So I decided to make a batch of Lemon and Craisin Cookies. Right now, I have this thing for slice and bake cookies. They are extremely versatile and you can keep some dough in the fridge if you don’t want to have an abundance of baked cookies hanging around that you can’t eat.

I did slightly reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by half and used caster sugar instead just because I had run out of icing sugar and wanted to retain a little bit of the tartness from the dried cranberries without losing the flavour in all that sugar. The Craisins are in fact already slightly sweetened, so you really don’t want to be eating yourself into a toothache. The recipe below is exactly like in the book, however you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe and still get a sweet aromatic cookie.

Lemon and Craisin Cookies

When baked to cookies crisp up although still remain crumbly once you bite into them. The sweetness and perfume of the lemon and the tangy bursts of cranberry are one of the many reasons to make this recipe. I must say though that these little cookies are incredibly moreish, but it seems to me that I say this about almost every cookie I make. Either the cookies are in fact moreish or I am just a big glutton, I prefer to stick to the former but you be the judge. Here is the original recipe below.


Slice and Bake: Lemon and Craisin Cookies
adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly: Cookies
makes 48 cookies

Lemon and Craisin Cookies

250g unsalted butter
1¼ cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest, grated finely
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted
½ cup rice flour, sifted
¼ cup cornflour, sifted
¾ cup coarsely chopped craisins
1 egg, lightly whisked

Beat butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Stir in sifted flours in two additions. Then add the egg.
Stir until the egg is incorporated and divide the mixture in half.
Knead each half on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
Roll each half into a 25cm log.
Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
Remove one of the logs from the fridge and slice into 1cm discs.
Shape into neat circles and place on the baking tray about 3cm apart.
Bake cookies for about 15-20 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.

33 comments:

Anh said...

beautiful! I always adore your cookies. I will have to try this out.

Meeta said...

Just fantastic. Besides the fact that the photos are completely edible the cookies look great. Very tempting!

Steph said...

I know what you mean--both about the mental/visual overload from a new cookbook and the wet weather in Sydney. I keep forgetting to wear my *cute* rain shoes, and then get soggy sneakers everytime I go out. Staying home and baking cookies is a good idea right now!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I just love dried cranberries and the combo with lemon sounds delicious! I've never baked with rice flour before though, so I'll have to go on a scavenger hunt here in the A'dam. We're having amazing amounts of rain, plus serious lightning and thunder, as well; I understand how you feel.

Patricia Scarpin said...

They seem easy to make and delicious, Jenjen!! Beautiful presentation!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

I love the look of these dainty cookies. And the description of your pantry. My mother-in-law cleaned out her pantry and gave me foods that were decades beyond date. It's hard to see food go to waste.

Christy said...

Wow, they look wonderful, and your photos are amazing.

I can definitely relate to the cookbook over load, and am so guilty of it, it isn't even funny. I have finally pulled out a chocolate cookbook that is about 6 years old, and started to try some of the recipes in it!

Danielle said...

Absolutely beautiful, and they look delicious, too! I'll make these as soon I get a chance.

Nora B. said...

Jen, I wish I had some of those cookies right now. I am having a hot choc right now as I finish off some work, but it needs some cookie dunking action.

cecilia said...

hi, jenjen....I can understand what you mean:here in italy the weather is as horrible as in australia!I casually have found your blog surfing the net and I think it's very nice....I will try soon some of your recipes(the easiest one, because of my skills)!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Lovely pictures, Jenjen, makes me want to bake a batch right now!

Truffle said...

These look just delightful! I have the same problem with new cookbooks so lovely to know I'm not alone :)

Squishy said...

I love the way you write and your photos are just divine. Excellent Post!

daphne said...

hi jen! first time tagging your blog. have to say, you make a pretty impressive cookie, i just feel like reaching out and grab that cookie off my screen! yes, it's that inviting.

will defo try that recipe. just a question, is it possible to sub rice flour with other types of flour?

Orchidea said...

They look delicious! I also made cookies once with rice flour and corn flour and they were really good.
Ciao.

Paige said...

At what point do you add the craisins? Before or after the egg?

mooncrazy said...

These are beautiful but how do you keep them so round? When I refrigerate them mine they get flat on the bottom. Your's are bakery quality cookies

fanny said...

wow Jen these cookies are gorgeous and look more than tempting
xxx
- fanny

Peter said...

A perfect companion to these rainy nights...coffee and delicious home made cookies...beautifully presented Jenjen

Ali-K said...

I now know exactly where to go next time it rains.....

ilingc said...

I've been eyeing that book, wondering whether or not I should get it. Sounds like I should!
I couldn't agree more with you on staying indoors in front of the oven on a rainy weekend. I've been doing that a fair bit lately and found that it's been very stress-relieving.. not very good for the hips though!

Véro G&R said...

This cookies look just beautiful. But I think it will be difficult for me to find craisins in my little town in France !

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look gorgeous! A nice set of pictures...

Jerry said...

Looks lovely. What I need to do is clean out my kitchen, also, but being only one person makes that task very hard, especially when its peach and plum season. :)

wheresmymind said...

mmm...I heart crasins!

flash said...

The photography on your blog page is quite exceptional. Too many people are in such a hurry to post an article that they just take a few snapshots and post them. I'm a professional photographer, so I enjoy the art done well.

Cheryl said...

They are so pretty. I would want to frame them instead of eating them. Well, maybe a could eat a few.

Ellie said...

What gorgeous looking cookies!

Peabody said...

Mmmm, the lemon cranberry ones sound so good.

noémie said...

Oh it is so tempting. I love dried cranberries so i'll try your cookies soon. Beautiful photos as always.

Helen said...

You are so good with cookies...I have been reading your last few posts and now I have a load to try comes fall. Gorgeous pics!

Anonymous said...

thanks i`ve been looking for this since I saw it on Fresh (The kids love the m&m ones just leave out the lemon and craisins and replace with 70g of m&m`s) thanks again

Fun said...

How much cranberries to add please?