Saturday, June 02, 2012

Butter Cookies and Mac & Cheese very grown-up style

I am really truly disappointed that I was unable to get any spare time, in the past few months, to do a blog post :-(. I so wanted to, but working full time equated to it being really impossible. I am in the process of organizing work + studies in the next few weeks, which means I can find more time to update the blog with some interesting posts. I did manage to bake some cookies for a 14 month old angel & some cakes for work/friends that I never got a chance to click! I made these butter cookies recently, a fairly straight forward recipe, but you can jazz it up as cookie kisses by sandwiching them together with butter cream or melted chocolates; A very chic after dinner coffee nibbles. I also have to share this very grown up Mac& Cheese I made for dinner on a Friday, with veggies and chilli cheese for a spicy kick . I know what you'd think when I say Mac & Cheese..but this one you've gotto like. Its baked in a very cheesy white sauce with a bread crumb topping that turns crispy and golden on baking! Finally, I have also included a Biscotti recipe that is definitely a keeper, turns out awesome every-time! Happy Long Weekend and Happy Baking!!

Butter Cookies
Ingredients (Adapted from Donna Hay)
175g Butter
1/4 cup Icing Sugar
1tsp Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Corn-starch
Pinch Salt
Preheat oven to 180C. Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy and gently fold in the vanilla & flour. Put the dough in a piping bag with star nozzle and pipe rosettes onto a baking tray lined with silpat. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes. Let it cool. Once cooled store them in an airtight container or if you wish to sandwich them together, pipe a little  butter-cream onto two matching cookies.
Lime-Vanilla: Fold in some lemon zest into the above mixture.
Coffee-Kisses: Add a tsp of espresso powder to the above mixture and pipe some  butter-cream with a dash of espresso in it as well.
Chocolate: Add a tsp of cocoa to the mixture and sandwich them with some melted chocolate or chocolate ganache.
Raspberry/Strawberry: Add a tsp of freeze dried raspberry/strawberry powder to the mixture and sandwich them with vanilla butter-cream.
Grown-Up Mac & Cheese
Cooked Macaroni according to packet instructions (I use 75g per person), tossed with a little olive oil
Mix of vegetables like carrots, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, corn..
1 clove of garlic chopped
For the cheese sauce:
75g Grated Chilli Cheddar Cheese
100g Vintage Cheddar
75g Parmesan
Salt to tast
500ml Milk
80ml Cream
Bay Leaf
Pinch Nutmeg
1tbsp Flour
1tbsp Butter
Preheat oven to 190C. Heat some butter in a pan and stir in the flour and cook till the raw smell is out. Slowly whisk in the milk, bay leaf, nutmeg and cream. Let thicken. Stir in the grated cheese. Toss the pasta and the vegetables into the sauce and sprinkle some bread crumbs and extra cheese on top. Bake in a greased tin/bowl for 20 minutes until its bubbly and golden. Serve with a crunchy salad.

Vanilla-Almond Biscotti
250g flour plain or wholemeal or a mix of plain & cornmeal
180g caster sugar/vanilla sugar
11\2 tsp. baking powder
150g blanched almonds
2tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla paste
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix everything together in a hand mixer or with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky dough, just dust the kitchen top with flour and knead the dough slightly and form 2 logs. Bake them for 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely and then cut them using a sharp knife and bake the slices again for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
For the coffee-chocolate-hazelnut Biscotti
Use 220g flour, 1tsp instant coffee and 30g cocoa & used a handful of dark chocolate chips. Replace the almonds with hazelnuts.
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