Cookies + Biscuits

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Mars Bar Slice

The Aussie “slice” is the lowest common denominator of cooking. Basic, ugly and entirely void of class it’s a “dessert”, or a black hole of effort, that exists only to be ridiculed (unless legitimately prepared by a legitimately busy parent… maybe). The butt of all my culinary jokes, the humble sloice is an atrocity that should be thrown into the bin or into the ocean or into a bin in the ocean.

This being said, my mum, a tremendous cook, occasionally made Mars Bar slice when I was younger and at 26 and child-less I thought it was as good a time as any to show my friends how much I truly care about them by serving an effortless (not a compliment) yet entirely iconic slab of chocolate and butter. I love you, guys.

And speaking of things I don’t enjoy (slices, not my friends), can we stop with the Christmas-in-Winter paraphernalia? Each and every one of my senses has been clogged with snowing icing sugar on cakes (no), cinnamon in everything (nope) and Santa hats because clearly we require extra warmth this time of year. I’m entirely guilty of this in my debut year as a WordPress-wielder but I’ve since moved on. Incorrect seasonal recipes deserve a swift kick into the appropriate hemisphere because this is Australia and all good Australians should respect their country by making a hideous slice at least once in their lives rather than preparing Winter desserts in Summer and anointing them with currants and fake reindeer. Put a mango on it or something.

I used a recipe from Best Recipes; it sucked when out of the fridge for a little while so try using less butter if you wanna give it a red hot go. Embrace the culinary filth, showcase your lack of finesse by doing a terrible job of cutting it into neat squares, stack them in a little tupperware box and take to a picnic to share around. Enjoy the warm embrace of cheap, melted chocolate in and around your mouth and all over your fingers. I dare you. It’s the easiest way to enjoy a genuine slice of Australiana. It’s gross but it’s the best… somehow.

Mars Bar Slice
Mars Bar Slice
Mars Bar Slice
Mars Bar Slice
Mars Bar Slice

Mars Bar Slice (from Best Recipes)
3 x 72g Mars Bars
90g salted butter
3 cups Rice Bubbles
200g milk chocolate

1. Line a tin, or your best Bessemer, with baking paper.
2. Melt Mars Bars and butter in the microwave, stir until smooth (the nougat part of the Mars Bars probably won’t budge though). Pour over the Rice Bubbles in a heat-proof bowl and combine until evenly distributed and the cereal covered. Pour into lined tin and press down until even (a potato masher works a treat for this).
3. Melt chocolate in microwave and pour over flattened Rice Bubble mixture. Smooth out and place in fridge for a few hours until firm enough to slice into awkward squares.

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So I made some chocolate brownies (how original!). But first! Some housekeeping.

SBS Food were recently kind enough to interview me as part of their Featured Foodie series. I once considered these badges some ~top tier stuff~ before meekly venturing into the foodblogging world so it feels surreal baring one of my own. Have a read of my interview whereby I discuss things that are both awesome and terrifying (I am a closet neurotic). Thank you, SBS!

Secondly! I’ll be in Melbourne for a couple of days for the Vignetting Victoria exhibition. If you’re free and in town please come down, it’s at Federation Square plus I’m fairly certain there will be free booze on opening night (after all, that’s the real reason we attend exhibition openings). My holga camera first pushed me into enjoying photography years ago so I’m really excited to be part of this. The image used in the poster is actually one of mine which is another very nice thing.

And now, finally, let’s talk brownie. After a near melt down over twitter the other day I was barely able to post these photos. Brownies are just so… ordinary. And, similarly to my cheesecake rant they are something I never, ever order for fear of disgusting, dry crumbs and unsavoury nuts all over my plate. No thanks! Needless to say I made up this recipe recently as a reaction against all that is gross about gross brownies because I am so postmodern and have far too much time on my hands and also wanted chocolate. This is exactly the sort of thing I imagine people downing an entire tray of whilst crying to themselves on the couch. That’s my measure of a damn good dessert. Cry-eating.

I made these again the other day for a weekend picnic, cut them up into miniature bites and staged them in a vintage-esque cup and saucer amongst some yellow fabric I had left over from a recent photo shoot. I then did that thing where I doubted myself, had a brain vommy whilst reviewing said photos and did a little cry-eating but I’m ok now. I’m ok because my friends said these were delicious and, dare I say, “moist”? No. Let’s just stick with chewy and delicious. I tried making them with a little dulce de leche swirl but the flavour seemed to dissolve in the baking process; I’m not coining the term “brownies with dulce de leche swirl”, at least not yet, because it wouldn’t be fair to post a recipe that doesn’t deliver as per its glorious header. CLOSEUP!

Aw yeah. It’s one bowl. There’s some salt, cinnamon and coffee to give it all a little more somethin’-somethin’. No nuts, all chocolate. I know every single food blog in the universe has a brownie recipe but I’d like to think mine fares pretty well so next time you need a chocolate hug give these a try.

Chocolate Brownies
80g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
80g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs dried coffee
3 tbs hot water

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Gently melt chocolate with butter. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add eggs one at a time and stir vigurously until once again combined. Add the flour, salt and cinnamon and combine once more. Add the dried coffee to hot water until dissolved then add to the brownie mixture and stir once more.
3. Pour mixture into a square tin lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

See you on Tuesday if you can make it to opening night! Come say hello! Otherwise… #cryeating!

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Domo Heart Cookies

I’ve always seen Valentines Day as a non-event in my life. Partnered or not, for a whole 25 years the spirit of red roses and overwhelmingly cute plush bears has never resounded within me on February 14. If you have a wonderful man or ladyfriend in your life to care for shouldn’t you try and make them feel special every single day of the year? Shouldn’t you want to make everyone in your life feel that way anyway? Yeah. Totes. So there’s no way I’d ever make something lame like heart cookies.

However.

I now run a recipe blog. Fate slapped me in the face when, whilst looking for old paints the other day, I came across a set of brand new, unopened graduated heart-shaped cookie cutters hidden in a mysterious box in the garage. And thus I found myself torn at the cross-roads of Valentines baking.

Admittedly I eyed off some pink food dyes and red sanding sugars and for a moment I thought I may have been turned. Nahhh jokes, what actually happened is that I went to my room to organise all of my Japanophile collectibles when, like divine intervention, inspiration struck in the form of beloved Domo Kun.

Domo Heart Cookies

To make these Domo heart cookies you’ll need:

  • A batch of sugar cookie dough + cocoa + red food colouring (Martha Stewart can help you out here)
  • One large heart shaped cookie cutter (for the body)
  • One small, rectangle cutter (for the mouth)
  • Black candy beads (for the eyes)
  • Royal icing (for the teeth). You could probably use white chocolate in lieu of this.

Prepare cookie dough as per Martha’s instructions. Remove around one quarter or one third of the mixture and place it in a smaller bowl with a few drops of food colouring and combine until it’s as red as you’d like (you may want to add another tablespoon of flour if it’s too wet from the colouring). With the remaining dough add just under 1/4 of a cup of cocoa and once again combine (if it’s a little crumbly add a teaspoon or two of milk until it reaches a similar consistency of the red dough). Wrap both your brown and red cookie doughs in plastic and place in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, to chill. And now begins the fun part.

Domo Heart Cookies

1.Roll out your chocolate dough and make some hearts with your cookie cutter.

2. Take your small, rectangular cutter and make a hole in the centre of the heart for the mouth. Pop these in the freezer on a tray so they’ll hold their shape.

3. Meanwhile, roll out your red dough and cut some Domo mouths with the same, rectangular cutter (yes I used the base of a mini-grater, ingenious I know).

4. Remove your chocolate hearts from the freezer and replace the holes with pieces of the red cookie dough. Because the hearts have firmed up you’ll be able to press the malleable red dough into shape within the hole to avoid any gaps during baking.

5. Optional tip: take one of the candy beads and make imprints where the eyes should be. Although these will rise during baking they will still make a handy maker and crevice, much easier for applying later.

6. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 7-8 minutes and allow to cool. Prepare royal icing (or white chocolate). Use as glue to attach the candy beads as eyes.

7. Now this is where I became a little unstuck. Place more royal icing in a piping bag (mine was an awful, flimsy sandwich bag). I found the best way to illustrate the teeth was to draw two straight lines along the top and bottom of the mouth.

8. Create four little peaks or triangles with a toothpick, carefully nudging the mixture. (Do this quickly before it dries! I recommend doing steps 7 and 8 per cookie rather than striping them all then returning to adjust the teeth.)

Domo Heart Cookies

And there you go, fellow weeaboos! Please feel free to bake these and spread the Japanophile love (and please see below for some cross-processed Tumblr fodder to celebrate the occasion). Happy Valentines!

Domo Heart Cookies

PS. As I type this I feel incredibly ill. Like, super fever ill; hot and sweaty and achey and confused. Maybe it’s Valentines Fever. I caught it! :<


Hey there sugar cookie! I have such a love hate relationship with you. Sometimes you’re adorable and cute, sometimes you’re oozy and shapeless. Sometimes you’re so chewy and delicious, sometimes you’re dry and just plain nasty.

These things are so hit and miss so when I was asked to make a Movember themed thing for a bakesale I was determined to get these cookies right. With a little help from some spice and a simple freezer I present to you my no-fail recipe and tutorial to creating perfectly shaped sugar cookies! They’re perfect for holiday events or themed garnishes, or both! This is also an easy way of creating two biscuit flavours from the same batch of dough. This should make around 30 movember cookies, depending on the size.

 

Basic Cinnamon + Chocolate Movember Cookies

(an original recipe)

120 g butter (at room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 tbs milk (optional)

2 tbs dutch-process cocoa

 

1. Beat butter until it begins to pale. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined.

2. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and continue to beat until completely combined. The mixture should begin to come together but of it seems a little crumbly add the milk.

3. Remove half of the mixture, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

4. Add the cocoa to the remaining dough in the bowl and mix until completely combined. As with the earlier half, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to firm.

5. Preheat your oven 160°C.

6. Remove dough, one disc as a time, and roll out to around half a centimetre thickness. Stamp out shapes with your cutter of choice, place on a tray lined with baking paper and, once full of shaped cookie dough, immediately place in the freezer for around 20 minutes. This is the most important step to ensure your shapes remain in tact once placed in the hot oven! Otherwise they’ll just ooze and end up looking like an ordinary, misshapen cookie (no disrespect to all the delicious, rustic cookies out there).

7. OPTIONAL: If you have any additional stampers or or textures to add to the cookies, do this now right before placing in the oven.

8. Place in the oven and bake for around 8-12 minutes, depending on the size. You’ll know when to remove them when they begin to brown around thr edges. After 5 minutes, remove tray and transfer cookies to a cooling wrack.

Now they’re ready to decorate! I embedded them in some buttercream-covered pandan cupcakes and added cachous for eyes to make little faces (a good idea in theory however they ended up looking like the Pringles logo in cupcake form. HOW EMBARRASSING).

And I may have had a little too much fun with them too.

I’d like to congratulate everyone who has participated and donated to such a fantastic cause this year. A number of friends took part in this and, despite a little self-consciousnes, did a really excellent job by embracing the mo’. So until next year, happy Movember!

EDIT: A few people have been asking where they can find these cookie cutters and stampers. I’m using the Munchstache set by Fred & Friends; they seem to be available all over the place so have a Google!

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