I have been doing a little gift shopping lately and have not been able to resist a few presents for Sylvia and myself. One of these is a present that keeps on giving. It is a packet of Australian Animal Cookie Cutters (from the Botanic Gardens gift shop).
The packet had six Aussie animals – koala, kookaburra, kangaroo, frill-necked lizard, platypus and echidna. It also had four recipes for biscuit (cookie) dough. One was for gingerbread with very little sugar and a lot of molasses. Unlike many of these cut-out recipes, it didn’t say I had to leave it in the fridge to firm up. Sounded good to me.
I have always been wary of making cut out biscuits because they just seem too dull and hard. I am pleased to report that this gingerbread has changed my mind. They were easy to make. Just mix everything together. I used treacle rather than molasses because they are quite similar but treacle is a lot cheaper. I also added a little golden syrup when I ran out of treacle. All cutters worked well except the kangaroo one because it had the thin bits for the tale and feet which kept falling off. I was really pleased at how cute they looked.
They were very soft to eat in the first couple of days but the next couple of days they were more dense and almost chewy just like good gingerbread I had bought in the shops. This recipe would also work well for gingerbread man and women. I put a few into E’s bag to take to work for his coffee breaks. He loved them although found them quite big.
The other present I had bought myself recently was a koala and gum leaf plate. It is just the plate for my koala bickies. Which brings me to a point of contention between E and me. In Australia where we use biscuit rather than cookie, we shorten it to bicky. E said it was biccy. I thought it might be bikky but was worried it looked like bikie. So I compromised with spelling it bicky. I check the web and didn’t find any definitive information so I think we will both have to be right in this instance.
As well as buying gifts to send overseas I have been planning to drop off a gift for our obstetrician who looked after us with Alex, Ian and Sylvia. I can’t speak highly enough of his sensitivity in a difficult time and the support he gave. He is incredibly busy but made an effort to be available to us and listen to what we were saying. We had bought some wine and biscuits but I wanted to make something to add to the bag. So I made some decadent wattleseed cashew truffles and also put in some of these bickies. They seem a little special.
I am a little nervous about how long the gingerbread will last. I probably should have done some experimenting with the recipe but I felt this would be too organised. But I will be making these for special occasions and gifts again because they look so impressive and are so easy to make.
I dropped off the giftpack this week and hope they are enjoyed. I have also included photos because I want to show just what a beautiful and happy baby Sylvia is. She is now blowing lots of raspberries at us and giggling. Yesterday she rolled over by herself for the first time and in the next week will start on her solids. She had her 6 month check today and is flourishing. She amused some of my work colleagues at lunch today, and the doctor’s receptionist commented on how good she was in my recent appointment. I know our obstetrician would love to see her and how happy she makes us. I am sure that is the greatest reward for his work.
Now that I have entered the world of cut-out cookies, I am interested to try some other flavours so will list a few that I would like to try below. As well as my Australian cookie cutters, I would like to try some in my cookie press. I also want to try some with wattleseed. So stay tuned for more experiments!
Some cut-out cookies to try:
- Autumn Maple Cutout Cookies – Cooking Light
- Best Ever Chocolate Cutout Cookies – allrecipes.com
- Chocolate and Ginger Cookies – Home Gourmets
- Cream Cheese Cookies – about.com
- Gluten Free Vegan Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies - TasteBook
- Nibby Buckwheat Cookies - 101 Cookbookx
- Oatmeal Cutout Cookies – Avenue Food
- Orange and Lavender Biscuits - Laws of the Kitchen
- Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies with Chocolate Cream – Bake or Break
- Sour Cream Cookies – about.com or these sour cream cookies
Gingerbread Bush Buddies
From the cookie cutters packet
Makes about 30
- 125g softened butter
- 2¾ cups plain flour
- ¾ cup treacle (or molasses)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp hot water
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pres together with your hands until it becomes a soft dough. Knead on a floured board about 30 seconds.
(Update 19/5/2010: made these again this week - put half the dough in the fridge for a couple of days and it was so easy to cut out shapes with the chilled dough - you don't need to chill this dough but for more complicated shapes I would advise it. This is also useful for making dough ahead of time or baking in smaller batches - I have kept it in the fridge wrapped in clingwrap for over a week.)
Use a rolling pin to roll out to 5mm thick. I halved the dough and did it in two batches because it seemed too much to handle all at once. Sprinkle surface with flour. Dip cookie cutters in flour and shake out so they are lightly covered. Cut cookie shapes and transfer to a greased or lined tray – I used a butter knife to slide under them so they didn’t stick to the board.
Bake at 160 C in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes. The recipe says biscuits will be just starting to brown but it is a bit hard to see with gingerbread. They will still be soft to touch so you have to go with gut feelings a bit.
Cool on tray 5 minutes and then they are ready to eat. But if left a couple of days in an airtight container they get a little chewy just like gingerbread in the shops.
On the stereo:
Discography: Pet Shop Boys