Category: Biscuits & Cookies

Pecan paprenjaci

Pecan paprenjaci // The Dinner Bell

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, since my enthusiasm for festive food got the best of me far before it was acceptable, but the tightness of my jeans indicates it is time.

These little darlings are based on traditional Croatian Christmas biscuits –  the inclusion of black pepper sounds a little odd but it gives a subtle warmth to the biscuits, which are similar to gingerbread and have a comforting softness to them.

As I inherited a slight walnut allergy from my mother, along with sturdy thighs and a love of food, I switched out the traditional walnuts in favour of pecans. I also used a tiny squirrel cutter instead of the wooden moulds they’d be made with in Croatia, because the tiny squirrel was too cute to resist.

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Lemon shortbread

Well, this is quite a ride, isn’t it? Waking up to political chaos, walking into work while it rains and taking a lunchbreak in the sunshine. I mean, it would be quite a ride, if turmoil and multi-season days hadn’t become the new normal for a British summer over the past few years. I’m excited to see what we’re going to vote on next June.

Another classic reaction to stressful situations in the UK is biscuits, and so today we return to shortbread, via fingers plunged into butter, bits of dough snuck into mouths before it can hit the oven, and the scent of freshly zested lemon.

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Honey & dark chocolate macaroons

There are very few things about modern cookery that actually make me sad. For my dad, the great tragedy is chilli being added to everything – chilli ketchup, chilli chocolate…other things. Some might be disappointed by the rise of burgers, or perhaps by how their native or favourite cuisine has been bastardised as its slipped into the mainstream, like Mexican food expert Diane Kennedy is.

I’m just sad that if you google macaroon, you get pages and pages of macarons, with not a shred of coconut in sight. Instead of golden, moist treats, it’s all smooth domed meringue, glued together with ganache or curd. The humble coconut macaroon has been usurped by the finicky French macaron. Read More

Malteser shortbread

F

inally, finally, it’s Feeding Month. For 31-ish days, it seems perfectly reasonable to bounce from caffeine high to sugar high to booze.

I for one am full in the throes of festive eating – the table between my colleague and I is now mostly orange citrus fruits and shortbread.

Four years on since my last Christmas in retail, I’m not sure I can say, “Well, Christmas starts in October for me!” these days, but it can start now. I’ve bought wintery candles, and started writing party food lists, and decided to put the tree up when my flatmates were out, because that is the most boring bit. The moment when you drop the box and scoot back in case of spiders; the trying to work out how the hell the base goes together. The lengthy task of separating out branches.

But with that done, it’s all fairy lights and glitter from here. And a lil too much food, of course. Read More

Gingerbread whirls

T

his weekend, a message popped up on my phone screen that set off a domino run of panic in my mind.

“I was thinking this morning…”, said one of my closest friends, the one I got to know in the school library when we were both chubby little book nerds, “Can we have a Christmassy London weekend?”

A moment’s consideration and a flip through my mental diary later, I realised I only have one weekend free between now and 2015. How did that happen? How can I fit everything in? When did I become a person who says, Sorry, I’m all booked up till next year? Read More