As the rains continue to pour over Sydney, it appears that most of the city has occupied itself in the business of talking about the weather. It has become somewhat of a national sport, where strangers who normally would have no business talking to each other find themselves engaged in conversation about the wild weather. While Sydney engrosses itself in a collective dialogue about climate conditions, predicted rainfall and dam levels, allow me to put my two bits in- in the form of biscuits that is.
With all this wet, dreary weather, what one desperately needs is a good dose of comfort eating, something to cosy up to on the couch and of you're lucky in front of a fireplace. Now if you are thinking, warms stews and hearty casseroles, then you are at the wrong blog. Although stews and casseroles are probably the perfect remedy for a cold winter's day, I am the kind of blogger that usually turns to something sweet on a day like this. On cold days, carbs are my best friend.
So another miserly winter's day is spent at the helm of an oven. As I write this post in my warmest winter woollies, there is a giant mug of tea at my side- a requisite for any cold day in my opinion, a plate of biscuits and some caramelised garlic bread just an arm’s length away, just waiting to be ripped apart. The bread is from the much-lauded Brasserie Bread in Botany Bay; quite a trip away from the suburbs, but their caramelised garlic bread is worth the traverse. Their garlic bread is made with a rustic style Italian dough with whole caramelised garlic pieces tucked in between layers of dough, then finished off with a varnish of garlic, pepper and balsamic vinegar glaze. I assure you it tastes a lot better than it sounds.
The biscuits are Lemongrass, Ginger and Sesame biscuits; a recipe adapted from the same book where these cookies were also from. Somewhere amidst the tea, the bread and the biscuits, is the succor required to endure this bitter reception into winter. The biscuits, if you haven’t already noted, are Asian-inspired, and after a quick glance at the list of ingredients you would be fooled into thinking that this is a recipe for an aromatic Thai broth. In particular, the lemongrass, ginger and cardamom all blend to create a wonderful spicy and fragrant biscuit that is almost likely to make you forget about what’s going on outside.
The thin layer of toasted sesame seeds on top provides a nutty contrast to the subtle sweetness of the cookie. This cookie isn’t as moreish as those other ones, and a couple of mouthfuls is enough to satiate your inner cookie monster and not to mention is a great reprieve for your hips.
The cookie dough also needs some time in the fridge to stiffen up for cutting. So it’s the perfect opportunity to make yourself a hot cup of whatever-you-fancy, perch yourself on the couch with a great book or a favourite TV show and wile away the wet weather indoors. When the weather is this tempestuous it’s good to have a solid plan B and these are just the thing.
Lemongrass, Ginger and Sesame Biscuits
Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly: Cookies
makes 38 small biscuits
125g unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup firmly packed grated palm sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground clove
2 egg yolks
1½ cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted
10cm stick fresh lemongrass, finely sliced
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup granulated sugar
2-3 tbsp water
Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in spices and egg yolks until smooth.
Stir in sifted flour and lemongrass.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm think; refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes out from the dough. Roll up remaining dough and repeat procedure.
Place on baking tray about 5 cm apart.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
While the cookies are cooling, make the sesame seed topping.
Toast the sesame seeds on the oven at 200°C for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully just in case they toast quicker than 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar and water just until the sugar begins to turn brown, remove from heat.
Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the cookies with the sugar syrup.
Turn the cookies, sugar side down onto the sesame seeds and make sure they are coated evenly. Return to wire rack to set.
After you have coated all the cookies with sesame seeds, use the remaining sugar syrup to gently coat the tops of the cookies to seal the seeds.