Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Black cat chocolate gingerbread for Halloween

I wanted Sylvia to help make these chocolate gingerbread biscuits.  She wanted to as well.  Yet she took so long to eat dinner that I found myself making them all by myself on Halloween.  Ah well, we had had a fun day making Halloween pom pom characters and painting Sylvia's face green like a witch.  Then we watched the Wizard of Oz to be scared by the wicked witch.

I saw the biscuits in a cookbook at my sister's house last year.  It had lots of simple chocolate recipes that were comfortingly familiar to anyone with an Australian childhood like my own.  Classic recipes like pavlova, ANZAC biscuits, golden syrup dumplings and honey joys are made with chocolate.  And doesn't everything taste better with chocolate.

Then I discovered that the book is from New Zealand.  Just shows how many recipes we share with our neighbours (though maybe it explains why honey joys are called honey crisps).  Perhaps the book came from the Dunedin Cadbury World that I visited many years ago.  Nice to feel a connection even if watching easter eggs being wrapped at Haighs factory in Adelaide was more fun than the tour in Dunedin.

The first recipe I decided to try was the chocolate gingerbread recipe.  It seemed perfect for Halloween, given that we had a new black cat cookie cutter.  The pastry rolled out easily without having to sit it in the fridge.  I liked these biscuits.  They were fairly plain and did not taste strongly of either ginger or chocolate.  Great with a cuppa tea.  Just not as spicy and soft as my favourite gingerbread biscuits.  I love the idea. Maybe it needs some tweaking!

I was very pleased with the new cookie cutter.  Though the tail looks great but falls off easily and is crisper than the body.  Sylvia loved the cats when she got up the next morning.  She would have had them for breakfast if I had let her.  She will do anything to avoid eating her breakfast.  There is the usual refusal, hide under the table, tip it out on the table.  Then there is more creative ways like pleading to dip seaweed crackers into porridge or attempting to glue an oat to her eyebrow with vegemite.  Well what would you expect from a little girl who alternately wants to be an idiot or a library (not a librarian) when she grows up.

The other experiment that day was to use up a manky old banana in some icy poles.  Inspired by Kari's banana and raspberry ice cream, we blended a banana, about 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons of dessicated coconut.  Then we froze them in icy pole moulds.  They were very yummy but too soft to hold onto the icy pole stick well.  Perhaps better as a bowl of ice cream.

Lastly I thought I would share a few choice bits and reflections from of the interesting things I have heard on radio lately:
  • 'On the Punt' by the Aerial Maps.  This is a great song that fills me with nostalgia.  It is timely too given that the Melbourne Cup (horse race) is today.  Though I don't bet on the nags, my great grandfather was an SP bookie and my grandmother loved a flutter.
  • Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf - a brilliant 2012 advertisement for The Guardian newspaper.  I first saw this on Gruen Planet which triggered a fascinating discussion about the future of journalism and then heard a further discussion on the radio about it.
  • Changing Tracks for Kevin - this is a story I heard last week that was just so moving - and so sad - but if you read it you will never hear Sweet Child of Mine in the same way again.
I am sending these biscuits to the Halloween Fiesta event that is being held by Cook's Joy.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Easy caramel fudge
Two years ago: Afghans – childhood comfort food
Three years ago: The Cornbread that Stops a Nation
Four years ago: Asparagus Adulation and two recipe
Five years ago: A Break in Beechworth

Chocolate gingerbread biscuits
From Cadbury's A Taste of Chocolate
Makes about 30 biscuits (or cookies)

125g butter
1/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp ground ginger
1 egg lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup - I did this in the microwave but you could do it on the stovetop too.  Let cool a little.  Stir in cocoa, ginger and egg.  Then stir in the flour and bicarb to make a soft dough.  Briefly knead on a lightly floured board until smooth.  Roll out to 5mm thickness.  I did this on baking paper so I could do it with very little flour - just a little flour on the rolling pin.  I also only rolled out half the dough at a time.  Place biscuits on lined baking trays and bake for 10 minutes at 180 C.

On the stereo:
Portishead - Portishead

20 comments:

  1. Oh yes, gingerbread!! I think we need chocolate chips in here too ;)

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    1. Thanks Hannah - choc chips would be fun - I actually thought about doing eyes and choc chips was one of my ideas

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  2. I love that three little pigs advertisement...Mr B showed it to me a few months back and it was so effective. I find our journalism (in WA at least not sure about elsewhere in Australia) so one-sided that it's hard to even call it journalism. It's not so much the view they present but the fact they only present one view - not what news should be in my opinion.

    On less political matters (!), these cat gingerbread biscuits are gorgeous - no wonder Sylvia wanted them for breakfast!

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    1. Thanks Kari - fairfax is hanging in here in Melbourne as an alternative to news limited but it is nothing like the journalism in the uk. Seeing the three little pigs advert on Gruen Transfer just before an advert for the Sydney Morning Herald really showed a level of sophistication in the UK that is just not in Australian media. Having said that I highly recommend the conversation - theconversation.edu.au/- which seems an interesting online Australian news source.

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  3. The cats are gorgeous - you could always use your favourite recipe with this cutter. LOL at Sylvia's breakfast antics and career aspirations. The icy pole looks delicious! I have three manky bananas in the freezer at present that I plan to make banana bread with.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I will have to try my favourite recipe with these cake cutters - I have put a manky banana in the freezer in preparation for more icy poles as we have almost finished them and it might be good to do it with frozen banana as well as frozen raspberries like Kari did

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  4. love the cat biscuits. wish i had thought of them for halloween!

    http://scrambledmegs.com/

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    1. Thanks Scrambled Megs - nevermind - any time is good for cat biscuits :-)

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  5. They're adorable Johanna! I have one of those cat cutters and they're perfect for Hallowe'en! :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - the cutters worked really well so I am sure they will be used quite a lot

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  6. What a cute cutter that is. Just when I think I have more than enough cutters I see another that really would be good to add to the collection.

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    1. Thanks Brydie - there is always another cute cutter to discover! Then I have to remember to use them all

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  7. I've never seen chocolate gingerbread before but what a fun festive treat!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - the only one I have seen is the lebkuchen with chocolate tops - was tempted to spread these with melted chocolate and set it to make them more chocolatey

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  8. I nominated you for a liebster award! Come check it out!
    x

    http://scrambledmegs.com/2012/11/08/my-liebster-award-nomination/

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    1. Thanks Scrambled Megs - I take a while to get to them sometimes but I do enjoy a meme - will tuck that away for a rainy day

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  9. I had total forgotten about golden syrup dumplings till I read those magic words ... my word they were good!! But back to the task at hand, those cookies look lovely. And I love how you have presented them with the pom pom animals too ;0)

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    1. Thanks chele - I once had the golden syrup dumplings with chocolate inside them at a friends and it was great - must try it some time now I have the recipe

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  10. Those cats look phenomenal Johanna, I bet Sylvia loved them. I made Polish spice biscuits for Christmas last year which worked really well and were delicious. They were similar to yours and used cocoa too, but also honey and lots of spice.

    http://choclogblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/polish-spice-biscuits-and-new-zealand.html

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    1. Thanks Choclette - I knew I must have seen other similar recipes - must try this - have the biscuits already bookmarked and they would make great presents

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