Tag Archives: Halloween recipe

Spooky Halloween Cookies

DSC07822I love decorating cookies, but my ban on sugar means I get to do it only on especial occasions, such as Christmas and Halloween, and therefore when the time comes I tend to go a bit nuts, baking a million cookies at a time and splattering icing all over the place.

I’m not ashamed to say (or am I?) that I have embraced Halloween wholeheartedly. It is such a fun celebration! Carving pumpkins, decorating the house, making spooky cookies and desserts. The child inside me really loves it 🙂

These cookies are shortbread, which keeps its shape really well when baking, and therefore makes for an excellent base for the cameo cookies which might have otherwise just turned into an awful blob when baked. Gingerbread men are more forgiving…

DSC07823You can use whichever cutter you have at hand really, for these ones I used a gingerbread man cutter and some cameo cutters I bought at a Sale and thought I was never going to find a use for.

The “stitched” look means that you can pretty much take any shape of cutter you have and by giving the cookie a couple of stitches make it spooky. Like a stitched, bleeding heart, for instance.

I have also discovered that a bell-shaped cookie cutter makes very good ghosts . Just use the rolling pin to stretch the bells into ghosts:

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Ingredients for 25 (big) cookies

 200 grs plain flour

40 grs fine semolina

80 grs caster sugar

160 grs butter, chilled and cut into cubes.

1 pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of cold water

Zest from 1 orange.

How to:

Quite easy actually!

1.- Place the flour, salt and semolina in a bowl. Add the butter.

2.- With your fingers rub the flour into the butter until you get quite a grainy/sandy mixture.

3.- Add the zest and the water and then use your hands to press everything together into a dough. Add a bit more water if you think you need to. It is going to be a crumbly dough.

4.- Wrap in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

5.- After an hour, take the dough out and roll into a floured surface or a surface covered in baking paper.

Roll it to 1/2 cm thick and cut your cookies. Before baking, place the cookies in the fridge for 1 hour (or the freezer for 20 minutes) that way they will better keep their shape.

DSC078246.- Bake in a preheated oven at 160 C for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn or brown too much. If your oven does not bake evenly, turn the tray around after the first 20 minutes.

For the Royal Icing

250 grs icing sugar

1 egg white

Lemon juice (1 teaspoon approx).

1.- Place the egg white, sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until its glossy and you can form soft peaks on the mixture. Note: Depending on the size of your egg white you might need to add a bit more lemon juice to get the desired consistency.

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2.- Divide into as many colours as you are going to use and add the food colouring. I bought Dr. Oetker colouring, and they are not very good, it took a lot of colouring to get a decent shade of red, and I never managed to make black icing at all, it never went any darker than grey. So if you can buy another brand, do.

DSC07811Then place the royal icing on piping bags. One way to do this easily is by placing the piping bag on a glass and then filling it, this way you are free to work with both your hands. Check minute 2:27 of this Rachel Khoo video where she shows how to do it:

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3.- Now, once the cookies are cold you can start decorating them. Place everything you are going to need on your working surface.

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You can start by doing all the details of the same colour, I started with white. Then move on to the next colour, this way you prevent your icing from hardening on the piping bags through exposure to the air.

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 DSC07817Let them dry and enjoy or give away 🙂

DSC07841Namaste and Happy Halloween!

Paula

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Easy-Pease Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

DSC07629I woke up this morning and after having my morning juice, I discovered we had nothing for breakfast. Nothing. So what do you do then? Well, as I usually walk my boyfriend down to the train station, I thought: “I’ll get a croissant from Marks” You know, fresh from the oven and still smelling like a croissant and all that. I rarely do, so they are actually a treat.

However, once I got there I changed my mind. Ever since I cut down almost to 0 sugar, I found that most shop bought pastries and cakes are much too sweet for me 😦 It has happened more than once, that I buy something, get home full of anticipation and as soon as I bite into it…disappointment. They are so sweet I cannot finish them.

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So, what to do then? In my case, I threw together what I expected was going to be a super easy breakfast cake…and it was! I just had a slice and it is perfect for breakfast. Filling, but not too sweet, with a lovely crumb and a hint of spices. Great with a tea or a coffee.

The list of ingredients is rather long, but don’t get discouraged because once you have them ready all you have to do is put them in a bowl together and mix with a spoon. No extra steps or random mixing or whisking in separate bowls.

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Ingredients:

250 grs wholemeal spelt flour (can use white spelt or regular flour)

1/2 cup pumpkin pure

1/2 cup almond milk (can replace with regular milk). If using white flour, you may need to add a bit more milk.

1/4 cup maple syrup (if you want your cake really sweet, add 1/4 cup more)

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 cup almonds. I forgot to add the almonds so I put them on top of the cake. I like how they look, they make the cake a bit more interesting. But you can also chop the almonds and mix them in with the batter.

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

Note: If you don’t have the spices, use more vanilla essence or replace them with the zest of one orange. You can also replace the almonds with raisins, walnuts or pecans or a mix thereof.

He likes it!
He likes it!

How to:

1.- Preheat your oven at 180 C. Line a baking tray of 20 cm X 17 cm (or similar)with baking paper.

2.- In a bowl place the flour, spices, salt, baking powder. If you want to add your almonds to the batter, rather than place them on top, add them now. Mix everything with a spatula or spoon. Make a well in the middle.

3.- To the well add the maple syrup, egg, milk, pumpkin pure, oil and vanilla essence.

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4.- Mix everything together with a spoon until you have a rather firm batter, like this:

DSC075874.- With a spatula distribute the mixture evenly in a baking tray lined with baking paper or previously buttered and floured.

DSC075905.- Add the almonds on top. Then place in the oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven).

DSC075966.- To know if your cake is ready, poke it with a skewer, if it comes our clean, then it is ready. You can eat it as is:

DSC076087.- Or you can dissolve 2 tablespoons honey in one tablespoon water over a low heat and paint the cake with that. Because this is not a very sweet cake, the honey glaze provides a nice sweet layer and a lovely shine:

Can you find the smiling face?
Can you find the smiling face?

8.- You can also make the glaze by mixing 1 tablespoon of orange or apricot jam and 1 tablespoon water over a low heat.

If you prefer, you can serve the cake with a little dusting of icing sugar instead of the glaze.

For a more “cakey” cake you can slice it in two, fill with apricot or orange jam and put back together. Probably a filling made with caramel would work well too.

For a moister version of this cake, you can slice in half, paint one half with a bit of orange liqueur and then fill with orange jam and put back together.

9.- And that’s it! You can put it together in 20 minutes and it cooks in 30. Ready to provide a home-made, healthy breakfast cake for the whole family in under an hour 🙂

DSC07614Hope you have a lovely day today!

Namaste,

Paula