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Cookie/Biscuit Recipes

03 March 2009

Chocolate Melting Moments


My first melting moment seems a long time ago. I was sitting in a cafe in Australia when I ordered this shortbread sandwich. It was lemon and passionfruit and I've never forgotten it.

True to its name, the cookie melted on my tongue. Its texture is different from regular shortbread. It's crumbly yet it's moist. It's buttery yet it's dry.

What gives them their soft texture is the addition of cornstarch, also known in Australia as 'corn flour'.

In this chocolate melting moment recipe, I use a little pure vanilla extract to enhance the icing however you could also use peppermint, coffee or even raspberry extract.

Continue reading "Chocolate Melting Moments" »

22 December 2008

Currant Melting Moment Shortbread Cookies


I've stumbled upon what I believe to be the world's greatest cookie recipe. Melting moment shortbread peppered with Grand Marnier soaked currants and infused with orange zest. How can anything be this good?

Butter. And loads of it. One and a half cups to be exact. Each time I pop one in my mouth, my subliminal cholesterol counter sends a little zap to my brain. The melt-in-your-mouth texture of the cookies is also due to the use of not only flour but also of cornstarch, sometimes known as 'cornflour'.

The cookies are incredibly easy to make and store for up to two weeks in an airtight container. If any cookies make it through the first week then you're more restrained then I am.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the cookies to work and give them away. There is nothing generous in this gesture at all. It's just the only way I can stop myself from eating all forty of them.

I want to wish all my readers a happy and safe holiday season. Thank you so much for all your comments and encouragement in 2008. See you in the New Year.

Continue reading "Currant Melting Moment Shortbread Cookies" »

03 December 2008

Making Madeleines


There is much debate over the origin of the little French sponge cake, the Madeleine, however there are two things that are certain; that the small French town of Commercy in the Lorraine region, proudly stake their claim over the shell-shaped cakes; and, that Madeleines have earned their timeless place in literature in Marcel Proust’s The Remembrance of Things. In the beginning of his autobiography, Proust is overwhelmed by a stream of childhood memories after he tastes the citrus-infused Madeleine with a drop of tea.

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the [Madeleine] crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me...But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

Today the Madeleine remains loved for its simplicity and delicate citrus flavour as if kissed by a lemon tree.


This is my second attempt at making Madeleines. The first time was miserable. What should have been an airy, soft cake with a slightly crisp exterior was dense and dry. After my first attempt I shied away from trying again and hid my Madeleine tin in the back of the cupboard. This was about a year ago.

It wasn't until recently that I was browsing on the Quince Handcrafted Cuisine website in Vancouver when I saw a Saturday afternoon class promising to teach students how to make the best hot chocolate and Madeleines ever. I enrolled immediately and headed off for an hour of tasteful education.

From Quince owner and chef, Andrea Jefferson, I learned how to make perfect Madeleines. It's all about finding the right balance between the whisking and folding of the batter while keeping it aerated with millions of tiny bubbles. Chef Andrea has a straight forward, no-nonsense approach to cooking. She is only particular about those things which require precision; baking measurements is one of those things.

On her recommendation during the class, I have only included the ingredient measurements in grams. While 130 grams of eggs was approximately 3 medium eggs, the size of eggs may vary from country to country, so my advice? Buy some scales and they don't have to be expensive. Mine were $16.

I've put together 10 step-by-step instructions to Madeleines you'd be mad to miss. Enjoy!

For more inspirational cooking classes check out Quince at:

Quince - www.quince.ca
1780 W3rd Ave Vancouver
Tel: 604.731.4645

Continue reading "Making Madeleines" »

24 April 2008

ANZAC Biscuits


Anzac Biscuits (cookies are called biscuits in Australia and New Zealand) represent something special. On 25 April 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) landed at Gallipoli in Turkey where thousands lost their lives.

The soldiers' bravery in that campaign has become legendary in both countries. I am not one for patriotic fanfare, but, if you're a Kiwi or an Aussie, you can't help but feel the emotion of this story.

ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand every April 25. Each year we reflect on the valour these young men showed as they were "going over the top". And, as always, you cannot but be struck by the staggering waste of life and the wretched futility of war.

Anyway, this post is about biscuits. It is believed that ANZAC biscuits were made by soldiers' families and wives during the First World War. They were specifically made to endure the long journey at sea to the troops. The recipe has changed in the intervening century to now include butter and coconut.

ANZAC biscuits are baked and enjoyed all year round, although they have a special significance on April 25.

The biscuits themselves smell great - even while you're mixing the dough, it's hard to be restrained. They are buttery and have the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The coconut is perfect for them and it's hard to stop at eating just four... or five.

Continue reading "ANZAC Biscuits" »

23 January 2008

Open Sesame!


I've never been to Morocco, but it's somewhere I've always wanted to go. My desire to experience Morocco first-hand has increased ever since I bought myself a Moroccan cook book and started cooking Moroccan dishes.

Food is often a reflection of the people who make it and the place it's made. Even though I have no direct knowledge of the people or the place, these cookies seem to me to reflect the images of Morocco that I exist in my imagination.

I can imagine these sand-coloured cookies being baked by the sun in that desert land. The cookies are crunchy and dry. I imagine them sitting alongside the crumbling spine of the Atlas Mountains. They're not indulgent - there is no serving of buttered guilt or chocolate-chip shame here. But they're certainly not dreary and lifeless, either. The delicious flavour of roasted sesame seeds seems to me to be quintessentially Moroccan. And the sweet scent of orange blossom water is colorful and exotic.

Until I travel there - and I undoubtedly will - I'm happy with the little pieces of Morocco that tumble out of my oven.


Moroccan Sesame Cookie Recipe
(Makes 24)

1.5 cups of white sesame seeds, plus about 1/4 of a cup extra
1 cup of unbleached organic flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1.5 tsp of baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbs of orange blossom water
1tps of orange zest


  1. Set the oven temperature at 180C.
  2. Roast the sesame seeds in a pan over a medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, place the seeds into a blender and blend until a powder is formed.
  3. Heat the flour in the same pan over a medium heat stirring constantly until the flour browns just slightly. Make sure you don't burn the flour though. Place it into the blender with the ground sesame seeds. Add the sugar, orange zest and baking powder to the blender and blend mixture thoroughly.
  4. Place the sesame mixture in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and orange blossom water. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon and then and then knead it and roll into a ball.
  5. Have the extra sesame seeds ready on a plate. Line a baking tray with baking paper and grease it with butter.
  6. Break off walnut-sized pieces of the dough and roll it into balls. Press the balls into the sesame seeds and flatten slightly. Place the cookies on the baking tray with the sesame seeds facing up. Allow for about 5 cm between each cookie and bake for about 15 minutes. Leave the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. 
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