Almond Danish Pastries

There is something about autumn and winter that makes me want to cook and bake.  I don’t know if it is some instinctive desire to squirrel away food for the cold months ahead or whether it is just the lovely comforting feeling of standing in a warm cosy kitchen whilst the rain hammers against the fogged up window but I find myself wanting to cook not just for today but for the days and weeks ahead.  I had been meaning to try out this recipe from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess for as long as I have owned the book…which is quite a while now…and last weekend was just the right time for it.  The recipe suggests halving the dough mixture and freezing one half and using the remainder to make 6 pastries and that’s exactly what I did. 

On reflection it is quite a simple recipe but the process is long and requires a bit of time and resting, especially first time around, but I can tell you that it was really worth the effort.  It is hard at one point to imagine that the gooey sticky dough will ever amount to anything more than a disaster but miraculously it does.  I was tempted, just before the finish line, to skip the second last step of brushing them with a sugar glaze but I’m glad I did as this really gives them that beautiful shiny sticky finish.  I did however skip the final step of drizzling with a runny icing sugar glaze as we wanted to eat them just a little bit warm…in truth we couldn’t wait any longer!  They smell wonderful and are surprisingly light and soft and much better than many shop bought ones I have sampled which can sometimes feel a little heavy and stale. I am quite happy now with the knowledge that I have the remaining dough tucked away ready to be defrosted and made in lovely pastries in no time. [Read more…]

Ginger Snaps

My husband and son both love ginger flavoured treats – gingernuts, ginger snaps, Jamaican ginger cake, gingerbread – they eat the lot with gusto.  Usually when my mum comes to visit us here she brings my husband a supply of his favourite M&S Ginger Snaps but on her last visit he was out of luck as there were no ginger snaps in stock.  The only biscuits I have been making here of late are these amazing chocolate chip cookies from Kristin over at Dinner du Jour but I eventually took pity on my poor husband and thought I’d have a go at making something that might resemble his beloved Ginger Snaps.  I, and indeed he, was really pleased with the results – lovely crunchy outer rim with a just slightly chewy middle.  Delicious and perfect for dunking in a cup of tea.  One thing that used to put me off cooking biscuits or cookies is that they would often go stale before we could eat the whole lot – one brilliant trick I have learned from that recipe for chocolate chip cookies is that if you weigh and roll raw cookie dough in to individual portions and wrap in cling film you can pop them in a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer until you want them – just take out one or two to cook at a time which  means you can have perfectly fresh cookies each day for weeks!  How genius is that?  For these biscuits I used an approximate weight of 30/35g per biscuit and this quantity of dough produced around 26 large biscuits. [Read more…]