I don´t know why, but somehow Christmas comes as a surprise every year. This year was no exception, so I needed to make some super fast, super easy Christmas cookies. With 3 main ingredients that can easily be mixed with additional/optional ingredients, these cookies are perfect for some last minute baking.
200 g (7 oz) softened butter
100 g (3,5 oz) powdered sugar
400 g (14 oz) plain flour
Cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, allspice, chopped chocolate, chopped almonds or other nuts, powdered licorice, cocoa, pearl sugar…
How to do it
- Mix together softened butter and powdered sugar. I use a stand mixer, but you can also use your hands.
- Slowly add the plain flour, and mix until you have a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into separate pieces, and add any preferred optional ingredients. (I first divided the dough into 2 pieces, then mixed in the spices in one of them. Then I divided the 2 doughs into more pieces, and mixed in chopped chocolate, chopped almonds and powdered licorice to the different pieces.)
- Roll out the different pieces until they are about 3-4 cm (1,5 inches) diameter, then place them on a cutting board and cover them with plastic foil.
- Place the rolls in a cool place for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 250 ºC/ 480 ºF, and line a baking sheet.
- Cut the rolls into cookie sized pieces (about 1 cm thick), and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the middle of the oven until the cookies start to get a golden surface, about 5 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool down on a cooling rack.
Leftovers. I recently found myself with a some unused egg white after having made a salad dressing containing egg yolk. I don’t like throwing away food, so what did I do? I made licorice meringue. With just a few ingredients, and a little bit of ingredients going a long way, these are perfect when you have egg white leftovers, or just are in the mood for something sweet. And if you don’t like licorice, just make plain meringue.
Egg white from 1 egg (with no traces of egg yolk!)
50 gram (3,5 oz) sugar
1/2-1 tsp licorice powder
How to do it
- Make sure that all the equipment is perfectly clean.
- Preheat the oven to 100ºC / 215ºF.
- In a large bowl, beat together the egg whites until the mixture is firm. I use a stand mixer with a whisk, but you may also use an electric hand mixer.
- Slowly add the sugar to the firm egg whites while still mixing. You should not turn off the mixer before all the sugar has been mixed in, and you have a smooth white mix.
- Mix in the licorice powder.
- On a baking tray covered with parchment paper, use a cake piping tool or just a couple of spoons to make the preferred size and shape of the meringue.
- Bake the meringue in the middle of the oven for at least 60 minutes.
- Take the meringue out of the oven and let them cool down before you serve them.
Eat the meringue just the way they are, or serve them with some vanilla ice cream or sprinkle them over some raspberries.
A few days to Halloween, and do you want to know one of my (baking) tricks? I very often try to find something slightly bitter to “break” the sweetness of the cakes. Whether it´s adding a few drops of lemon juice to buttercream frosting, or using raspberries with a chocolate cake, I find that adding some bitterness makes the cake taste “fuller”. And to this cake I’ve even added some salty licorice, so prepare to put your taste buds to the test. Salty Tricks or Sweet Treats? Yes, please!
225 gram (7,9 oz) melted butter
3 dl (1 1/4 cup) sugar
6 dl (2 1/4 cup) plain flour
4 tbsp cocoa
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2, 25 dl (1 cup) milk (and maybe add a little red color to get you in that Halloween mood)
2 dl (1 cup) heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
200 gram (7 oz) raspberries
2 tsp licorice powder
150 gram (5,3 oz) melted chocolate
100 gram (3,5 oz) softened butter
200 gram (7 oz) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
3 tbsp milk/heavy cream
How to do it
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC /390ºF.
- Butter and line 1-3 round cake tins (22 cm/ 9 in) (and/or use parchment paper).
- Melt the butter and let it cool down a bit.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with sugar for a few minutes until you have a thick and fluffy mixture. I use a stand mixer with a whisk, but you may just as well use an electric hand mixer.
- Add the melted butter to the mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and vanilla sugar.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and the milk to the mixture, and mix until you have a smooth batter.
- Transfer 1/3 of the batter to (each) cake tin.
- Bake each cake/layer in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until a skewer put in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Let each cake/layer cool.
- For the raspberry cream: if you use frozen raspberries, heat them to boiling point, and let them boil for a few minutes (this to make sure that the berries don’t contain any bacteria). Let the berries cool to (at least) room temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk together heavy cream, sugar and vanilla sugar to whipped cream. Use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. The whipped cream should “well done” rather than fluid (because you´re going to add raspberries, which will bring quite a bit of fluid to the mix).
- Add the cooled raspberries and blend them in with a spatula.
- Mix in the powdered licorice with a spatula, and keep the cream in a cool place while making the chocolate buttercream.
- For the chocolate buttercream: beat the butter and add some of the powdered sugar. Use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer.
- Mix in the melted chocolate, and then slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar. Then add the milk/heavy cream while mixing until you have a smooth buttercream (it should be quite soft – the buttercream will become stiff when the melted chocolate has cooled down).
- When the cake layers are cool, put one layer on a tray. Make a circle of buttercream around the edges of the layer (this will keep the raspberry cream in place), then cover the layer with half of the raspberry cream (see picture).
- Place the second layer over the first one, and cover it with buttercream and raspberry cream just like on the first layer.
- Place the third layer on top, and cover the entire cake (top and sides) with chocolate buttercream.
- Decorate the cake with licorice and sprinkles, or maybe with some fresh raspberries.