Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

Christmas is almost here! Only a week to go now :-)

I feel like I write the same post every year – that Christmas has come so fast, and it’s already upon us, another year gone by.

But seriously now, how quickly has this year gone?! I swear the older I get, the faster time flies by.

Christmas baking is already in full swing at work. Lots and lots of fruit mince pies, christmas puddings baked in little jars and gingerbread cookies are being churned out by yours truly on a daily basis.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

And my Christmas tree is up at home! It’s real, like in a pot. As in, alive. So I have to try not to kill it (because I’m failing at that guys, the keeping-plants-alive thing. Seriously).

The tree is probably up to my shoulder, covered in lights and little white, silver and purple baubles. It brings gorgeous light to our apartment in the evenings and has presents spilling out from underneath it.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

The presents are actually spilling out quite far! There are all the ones under the tree, another big pile of presents has taken up the corner and the ottoman, then there’s another pile by the bookcase, and Mr Man’s hoard of gifts for me is still under the bed (where he thinks that they’re well hidden) waiting to be wrapped.

Basically, there are presents everywhere. And I’m really, super excited for Christmas to get here already so I can claim my apartment back from all the presents.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

But what can I say, I love buying presents. And wrapping them is so much fun! There’s nothing cheesier I love more than playing Christmas carols, wrapping gifts, watching a Christmas movie and baking Christmas cookies. Now all I need in my fantasy land is for it to snow!

I love shortbread cookies for christmas because they’re deliciously buttery, keep so well, make a great gift and look so Christmassy covered in the lightest dusting of powdered sugar.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

Don’t forget that there are lots of other Christmas recipes on the blog, too!

These gingerbread cookies are so Christmassy and another great option to give as gifts.
I’ll be making these peppermint chocolate truffles this weekend to take to a Christmas lunch.
This scorched almond and chocolate nougat was my favourite Christmas treat last year and makes such a great present!
This Christmas spiced brown sugar shortbread just melts in your mouth.
And who could forget my gingerbread macarons with eggnog buttercream?! Yum!

I hope you all enjoy your Christmas baking! Have a very merry Christmas filled with joy, love, laughter and beautiful food (and snow! I hope you get snow!). X

Christmas Shortbread Cookies | Butter Baking

CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD COOKIES
 
Ingredients
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
  • ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
Method
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix on a low speed until just incorporated.
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper until the dough is ½ inch thick.
  4. Refrigerate the rolled out dough for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the shortbread from the fridge, take off the top sheet of baking paper and use Christmas shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough.
  6. Place the cutout cookies onto lined baking trays. Bring the leftover dough together in a ball and repeat the whole process.
  7. Refrigerate the trays of cutout cookies for 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 170 (325 F).
  8. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Makes about 30 cookies.
  9. Happy baking! And merry Christmas!

 

Fine Apple Tart

Fine Apple Tart | Butter Baking

It was my mum’s birthday on Monday, and as we celebrated at my apartment this year, I had the honorary responsibility of doing all the cooking.

And along with that came the task of making her birthday dessert!

I say dessert, not cake, because Mum isn’t really into cake. Apples, however, she loves. Anything baked with apples is her thing.

Fine Apple Tart | Butter Baking

I’ve made her these gorgeous little apple pies in the past, as well as this traditional apple pie (her favourite, I think!). I’ve baked her caramel apple galettes and even these apple turnovers, because when we were in Paris they were all she ate. Quite literally.

So when this birthday rolled around and she requested the usual apple-something, I had to really get thinking to bake her something new. And delicious.

A few months ago, when Mr Man and I were in Sydney, I had this amazing, delicious, crispy, gorgeous, fine apple tart from a beautiful little bakery called Flour and Stone.

It was so good that the memory of it had stayed with me, and I thought this was the perfect occasion to attempt to recreate it.

Fine Apple Tart | Butter Baking

And the recreation was a complete success! The tart pastry was crispy and golden and puffed, and the apples were sweet and tart and juicy and the whole thing had caramelised and melded together beautifully.

Fine Apple Tart | Butter Baking

I watched this video from Flour and Stone  to learn how to make the tart just like thy do.

I used puff pastry from work, but you could use a great quality all-butter puff. Please make sure it is all-butter though! No vegan pastry fat here.

Then I covered it in a thin layer of creamy almond frangipane. Flour and Stone use pastry cream, but I had some leftover frangipane in the fridge and it worked beautifully with the apples.

Then all that gets covered with lots and lots of finely sliced apples. It takes time! Peel, core, slice arrange. Peel, core, slice, arrange. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Then finally, you brush on a lot of melted butter, then sprinkle on even more sugar, like everywhereand then we bake!

Fine Apple Tart | Butter Baking

FINE APPLE TART
 
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • A few tablespoons of pastry cream (link below recipe) or frangipane
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 - 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and halved
  • Melted butter, about ¼ cup
  • Caster (superfine) sugar, for sprinkling, about ½ cup
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Place a dinner plate upside down on the puff pastry and score around the outside to get a circle of puff. Place this on the baking tray.
  3. Spread a thin layer of pastry cream or frangipane over the puff pastry, leaving a 1cm (1/2 inch) border around the edge. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Thinly slice the apples and arrange them standing up, starting on the outside edge of the puff pastry and working your way in. Follow the video (link below recipe) to see an example.
  5. Brush all over with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown puffed.
  7. Eat while it's fresh! Serves 8!
  8. Happy baking!

Pastry cream recipe can be found here!
Apple tart video can be watched here!

Recipe inspired by Flour and Stone.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

Hello!

So the Christmas season is officially upon us – it’s December, people are beginning to put up their Christmas trees (I’m doing mine tonight, yay!), decorations are up around town and all the bakeries are stocking up with mince pies, gingerbread and fruit cake.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

And the recipe I’m sharing with you today bares no resemblance to mince pies, gingerbread, fruit cake, or anything remotely Christmassy.

It’s cookies and cream ice cream.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

Because Melbourne Christmases are hot.

Because I spend my days at work baking all sorts of Christmas themed delights and they’re the last thing I want to think about when I come home.

Because it’s still so early in December that if I start eating pudding and shortbread now, I’ll be completely over it by Christmas.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

So I’m eating ice cream.

I just love cookies and cream ice cream. I may go as far as to say that it’s my favourite ice cream flavour, ever.

And when you make it yourself, well, it’s a whole other level of amazing.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

It’s beautifully rich, made with egg yolks, heavy cream and sugar. You get to lick the paddle after you’ve churned the creamy, vanilla-bean flecked anglaise. And you get to control the size (and amount!) of the Oreo chunks you put in there.

So good. X

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream | Butter Baking

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk (250ml)
  • ¾ cup caster (superfine) sugar (150g)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cream (500ml)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 packet (200g) Oreos, crushed
Method
  1. Put the milk, sugar and salt in a small saucepan.
  2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk, along with the pod.
  3. Place the saucepan over a high heat and bring the milk to just under the boil.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the cream into a medium mixing bowl and set a strainer over the top. Set aside.
  5. In a separate, medium, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar lightly. Slowly pour the infused milk into the yolk mixture, whisking the entire time, until combined.
  6. Place this bowl over a pot of simmering water, and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the mixture reaches 82 C (180 F) or until it coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Remove from the heat and pour through the strainer into the cream.
  8. Stir the custard until it's cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (preferably overnight).
  9. Once the custard is cold, churn in your ice cream maker. Remove and stir through the crushed Oreos. Freeze well before enjoying.
  10. Happy baking!

Vanilla ice cream base adapted from David Lebovitz.

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake

IMG_3462

Today is cloudy, grey and miserable.

Although it is still lovely and warm (it’s spring!), the rain has been coming down on and off all day. As I type this, it is actually pouring down.

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

I was going to share an ice cream recipe with you today, but as the thunder started clapping this morning, it felt somewhat inappropriate.

Because who wants to eat ice cream on a gloomy, wet day?

No, no. Rainy, inside weather like this, screams perfect baking weather to me.

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

So I got to making a cake.

I’m not really one for cakes, but I’ve been wanting to re-make this yogurt cake for a while now (because it is ever moist and yummy, easily adaptable and, honestly, because the old photos are super cringeworthy. That blog post needed a makeover. For real.) and I had a fridge full of beautiful summer berries that were perfect to throw on top of the batter.

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

And really, what could be better on a rainy day than sitting around and catching up with a friend over coffee while a gorgeous yogurt cake bakes away in the oven?

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

Now, this cake is so easy to put together. A mixing bowl and a whisk are all you need.

It’s adaptable, too. It calls for yogurt, but I only had half the amount I needed, and it was raining, and I totally wasn’t going to walk the two minutes to the shop to buy more, so I subbed in cream. Yep. Double cream. And it worked !!

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

I also replaced half the sugar with superfine raw sugar to see what would happen. It made the cake turn a lovely golden colour which I like. I’ll note my adjustments in the recipe, but feel free to bake the original if you want a true yogurt cake.

And feel free to use whatever fruit you like in this cake! Just throw it on top there. Like last week’s friands, this cake can be any fruity flavour you like. X

Easy Berry Yogurt Cake | Butter Baking

EASY BERRY YOGURT CAKE
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used half yogurt and half double cream)
  • 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar (I used half white and half raw, or golden, caster)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⅔ cups plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • A handful each of strawberries and cherries (or whatever fruit you like)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and line a 8.5 inch (approx) springform tin with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the yogurt, sugar, salt and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour in the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into the yogurt mixture. Fold them through using the whisk.
  5. Pour into the prepared baking tin. Pit your cherries and hull and halve your strawberries and arrange them over the top. Optionally, you can sprinkle the cake with a little raw sugar which will form a crunchy crust.
  6. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the cake springs back or a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool a little before removing from the tin.
  8. This cake keeps well, moistens with age and serves 8 - 10.
  9. Happy baking!

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris, via this post.

 

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

You’re going to love this recipe.

Because this is the kind of easy, quick-to-bake recipe that you can whip up in absolutely no time.

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

It requires hardly any effort – all you need to do is brown a little butter, then whisk everything together. Seriously. That’s it.

No mixer required. Barely any washing up. And 20 minutes later, you have gorgeous, warm little friands making your home smell all friand-y.

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

You can even make the batter in advance, leave it in the fridge for a day (or three) and bake it when you’re ready.

And as a bonus, letting the mixture hang out in your fridge for a while develops its flavour, so the friands taste even better.

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

You’re going to love this recipe, because these friands not only look cute, but they are moist and full of brown buttery, lemony, white chocolate flavour, with pops of fresh strawberry.

They keep well, and are super perfect for packing into a pretty box and taking along with you to a coffee date/dinner/afternoon party.

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

Last week, I was seriously struggling to come up with something to bake to take to a dinner. It needed to be able to survive well overnight without being refrigerated, needed to be easy to transport, and couldn’t be too time consuming to make. I wanted to mix up some fun flavours too, and possibly use berries because they’re in season here. And I was coming up with nada.

Until these suddenly came to mind!

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

I first made these months ago and can’t believe I haven’t revisited them sooner.

Particularly as there are so many flavour possibilities. My gosh, you can do anything with these! You can mix in nuts, berries (fresh or frozen), other fruit, zest, chocolate…and the list goes on.

You have to try them! X

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Lemon Friands | Butter Baking

STRAWBERRY, WHITE CHOCOLATE AND LEMON FRIANDS
 
Ingredients
  • 8 egg whites
  • 225g unsalted butter, browned (1 cup)
  • 270g icing (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 135g almond meal
  • 75g plain flour, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 80g white chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and halved
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease a large 12 hole muffin pan (or 12 - 15 friand moulds).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites just to break them up.
  3. Add the browned butter, icing sugar, almond meal, flour and salt, whisking until combined. Mix in the lemon zest and white chocolate.
  4. Pour the batter into each mould, until it is ¾ full.
  5. Top each one with half a strawberry.
  6. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool slightly before removing from moulds. Makes 12 - 15 friands.
  8. Happy baking!

Adapted from What Katie Ate.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

Over the past weeks in our new house, Mr Man and I have really watched our house become a home.

With the addition of a row of benches on our balcony, a new barbecue, the perfect copper lamp and a few strategically placed pot plants (one of which is a lemon tree on the balcony. Not joking, a friend actually bought us a huge pot with a lemon tree), our house seems complete.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

Until next weekend that is, when I decide we need another plant/cushion/throw rug/candle holder and Mr Man will probably want to kill me as I drag him to yet another home wares/hardware/department store and spend an hour deliberating over said pot plant/cushion colour/throw fabric/candle holder size.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

The whole thing makes me feel like I’m playing house, and pretending to be super adult. Because really I’m still about 20, and don’t own a lemon tree, or a fridge. I don’t buy my own dishwasher tablets and potting mix. I don’t sort out internet connections and extortionate hot water bills either, because those are adult things that adults do. And I can’t remember the point where I suddenly became an adult.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

We even potted plants on the weekend.

Like, I took a fern (well, I thought it was a fern. But apparently it’s a palm. I actually own a palm) out of it’s rubbish little plastic pot, ruffled it’s roots and placed it all up in a bed of potting mix in a huge pot. Because apparently plants can’t just be left in the pots they come in. Like, you can’t just place the plastic pot inside a pretty pot. You have to actually re pot them. Who knew? These are the things you learn when you become a pretend adult.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

And entertaining. Entertaining really makes me feel like I’m playing house. Like, buying groceries and cooking for other people and stuff. We’ve had lots of friends around for dinner and barbecues and evenings of cheese, and last week when we had my gorgeous girlfriend and her partner over for an afternoon of food, this is what I made for dessert.

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

I put blueberries in my creme brûlée. And then scattered more on top of the crackly caramel crust. They burst and add a lovely freshness. I made my favourite brown sugar shortbread (minus the christmas spices) and crumbled that over the brûlées too, which added buttery crunch. When our friends were here, I might have even added a scoop of hazelnut ice cream onto each creme brûlée. And we may have even licked our bowls clean, while pretending to be all grown up. X

Blueberry Creme Brûlée with Brown Sugar Shortbread | Butter Baking

BLUEBERRY CREME BRULEE WITH BROWN SUGAR SHORTBREAD
 
Ingredients
  • 500ml double cream (18 fl oz, 2 cups)
  • 1 large vanilla pod
  • 100g caster (superfine) sugar (4 oz), plus extra, for sprinkling
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 punnets blueberries (250g)
  • Brown sugar shortbread, to serve (recipe link below)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 115 C (250 F).
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Throw in the pod, too.
  3. Bring the cream to a boil, turn off the heat and put the lid on. Allow this to infuse for 10 minutes.
  4. Crack the eggs into a large heatproof bowl and beat well.
  5. Bring the cream back to the boil. Turn off the heat and pour the cream over the eggs in a slow and steady stream, while continuously whisking the eggs vigorously.
  6. Strain the mixture into a jug.
  7. Place 6 ramekins in a roasting tray. Divide one punnet of blueberries between the ramekins. Fill each one about three quarters full of custard mixture.
  8. Pour hot water into the roasting tray around the ramekins until it comes halfway up their sides.
  9. Place the brûlées in the oven and bake for 40 - 60 minutes, until they are just set but still slightly wobbly in the center.
  10. Take the ramekins out of the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  11. Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of caster (superfine) sugar, about one teaspoon, evenly over the top of each custard. Caramelise with a blowtorch or under a grill – but be sure to watch them like a hawk so they don’t burn.
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then top with the other punnet of blueberries and some crumbled shortbread. Serves 6.

Brown sugar shortbread recipe can be found here (make without spices).
Creme brûlée recipe adapted from Cook in France.

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