Macadamia Shortbread and Gingerbread Biscuits

24Dec07

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I’m so happy because this year, I have received the best Christmas ‘present’ ever! My best friend Paula has been living in Sydney for the past year to study and yesterday she returned home to Melbourne for good. Yay! :) Paula actually doesn’t remember the first time we met, but I can recall being awkwardly alone during the first Year 8 Art lesson of the year and shyly making my way over to her desk and asking if I could sit next to her. Luckily for me, she said yes and we’ve been best friends ever since.

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What do I love about Paula? Without writing a thousand-word essay, she’s straightforward and confident, intelligent and composed, very sweet and sensitive, constantly puts others’ needs first and has a heart of absolute gold. Without getting too emotional, she’s always believed in me, always listened to my constant ramblings, always there if I needed a shoulder to cry on, and for that I am truly thankful to have her as my friend.

I’m glad that she has come home at this time of year because it’s the time you spend with the ones you love most. I’ve been looking forward to sharing a plate of biscuits, a few laughs and a cup of peppermint tea with my best friend for so long. Tonight I did and I couldn’t be happier.

Welcome home Paula :)

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For Christmas this year, I’ve made a big batch of macadamia shortbread and (crunchy) gingerbread biscuits, wrapped them up in squares of calico and ribbon and gave them to my nearest and dearest to enjoy. To my family, friends and my 15 or so readers, haha, may you all have a wonderful and festive Christmas!

Linda xx

Macadamia Shortbread

(a classic recipe from one my all-time favourite baking books, ‘Homebaked’ by the Australian Women’s Weekly)

250g unsalted butter, softened

110g (½ cup) caster sugar

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1 vanilla pod)

300g (2 cups) plain flour

75g (½ cup) rice flour

75g (½ cup) finely chopped macadamias

2 tablespoons caster sugar or vanilla sugar, to sprinkle

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until very light in colour and rather fluffy. Gently fold in the flours and nuts. Using your (clean) hands, press the ingredients together to form a large mass.
  3. On a floured bench, gently knead the dough until smooth. This should only take a minute or two.
  4. Divide the dough into three portions. Roughly roll each portion between two sheets of non-stick baking paper into a 20cm circle. Press into the shortbread rounds using an upturned loose-bottomed fluted tin, to create three rounds. Cut each round into 12 wedges. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the wedges onto your prepared baking trays (you may need to repeat this process as your trays may not have enough space). Prick each wedge with the tines of a fork and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the shortbread turns a pale straw colour. Allow the wedges to stand on the tray before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

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    Gingerbread Biscuits

    ½ cup caster sugar

    ½ cup brown sugar

    200g unsalted butter, softened

    1 egg

    ¾ cup golden syrup

    3 cups (450) plain flour

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg

    ¼ teaspoons ground cloves

    pinch of pepper

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
    2. Beat butter and sugar until very light in colour and fluffy. Add egg and golden syrup and mix until a lovely, gooey mixture forms.
    3. Add flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices and mix until just combined. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for a minute. Divide the mixture into four portions and place in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is also fine).
    4. Roll each portion between two sheets of baking paper and cut out shapes as desired. Place the cut-outs onto your prepared baking trays (you may need to repeat this process as your trays may not have enough space).
    5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes for small biscuits and 12 minutes for larger shapes or until the biscuits turn a lovely golden brown colour. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

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        5 Responses to “Macadamia Shortbread and Gingerbread Biscuits”

        1. Hey hon – hope you had a lovely Christmas :) The cookies look marvellous, and I totally dig the wrapping, SO much better than f*cking cellophane!! Btw, how was your gingerbread dough to handle? I’m looking for a different one as the one I used was so soft I had to do batches with each chilling in the freezer everytime after I touched it!

        2. Yuletide Greetings Ellie dear! I’m still laughing over your cellophane! Lol!!

          This dough is very firm and it doesn’t need much chilling at all (I made my biscuits on a freaking hot Melbourne day and I had no problems). It rolls out well and you can cut the shapes out with a breeze! (it tastes good raw too, lol)

          P.S. Remember, Spotlight reigns supreme over Lincraft. Keep that in mind for Christmas 2008 ;)

        3. Hey, hope you have a Merry Christmas and great New Year!
          I am one of your silent readers – this is my first comment for you.

          Thanks for the ginger biscuit recipe, I love ginger, so will definitely try this out.

          PS: You have a great first name. ;-)

        4. You’re the second Linda to leave a comment on my blog! :) It’s a great name ;) It means ‘beautiful’ in Spanish!

          Thank you for your lovely comment :) It seems that you and I have lots in common. Both named Linda, both from Melbourne, both bloggers!

          Hope you had a nice Christmas. Happy baking! :)

        5. 5 nut

          Your photos look great! The cookies look great! The wrapping looks beeeeaaauuutttiifffuuullll!!!! Pity I can’t taste them over the 101010101 screen. *droools*
          MERRY CHRISTMAS MY DEAR!!! Cheers to many great first time(s) in the coming 2008!


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