Pecan biscuits

I know, it’s been a while (or should I say ages) since my last blog post.
I’ve been so busy in the last couple of months, I didn’t have any time to write. The other reason is that I’m always quite strict about the sort of recipes that I share, they have to be really good ones that I love, not just some random stuff that I thought was ok.

I have been baking a lot since my last post but none of the stuff I made blew my mind. Until… The pecan biscuits.

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pecan nuts. I seem to have a massive ideal in my mind about how they’re going to taste like, mainly because when I was a teenager, I wasn’t really allowed to buy any because they’re so expensive.
They became a sort of luxury baking product to me. The thing is that my “pecan bakes” never taste as good as I thought they would. Until…

The pecan biscuits recipe:

For about 15 biscuits/cookies, you’ll need:

– 115g of butter
– 75g of sugar
– 130g of plain flour
– 100g of finely chopped pecan nuts

Cream butter and sugar together until light and pale. Add the flour and nuts.

Refrigirate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven at 170C.

Shape balls with the dough and place on your baking sheet or tray, lined with baking paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the base of the biscuit starts to go brown.

You could eat them as they are or roll them in icing sugar.

Wait until cool before eating.

They’re really buttery and subtly nutty. Very crumbly too. I would say quite similar to a shortbread but 10 times better.

Mylène

Malt loaf

I had my first malt loaf about 3 years ago. We don’t have them in France so it was a new thing to try.

I really like it but I’m not a malt loaf addict like I know some people are.
I knew it was time for me to have a go at it, how hard could it be? Well… finding malt extract was quite a long process, I couldn’t find any in supermarkets so headed to my local whole-food shop.
If I understand right, malt extract used to be a sort of horrid supplement that kids use to be obligated to eat (Winnie the Pooh reference there!).

I couldn’t help myself from opening the jar in the car on the way home just to see what the fuss was about. To me, it smells and taste like maltesers, it’s quite nice just to eat it on it’s own.

Don’t expect a malt loaf you might make to be exactly like the commercial ones because they’re not. Mine wasn’t as stodgy and sticky.
After making a malt loaf, you should keep it airtight in a plastic bag for a couple of days to make it go a bit more sticky.

malt

For 2 loaves you’ll need:

– 150ml of hot tea
– 2 eggs
– 85g of brown sugar
– 150g of malt extract
– 25g of black treacle
– 250g of plain flour
– 1tsp of baking powder
– half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda
– 300g of raisins

Preheat your oven at 150C.

Line 2 loaf tins with baking paper.

Pour the malt extract, treacle, sugar and raisins in the hot tea and stir well!

Add the eggs, flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the mixture.

Pour the batter in the prepared tins and bake for 50 minutes.

That’s it.

The usual way to eat it is in slices with butter. Toasted it is also very good.

Mylène

Lemon cookies

A few weeks ago, I made some lime biscuits to use up some leftover egg yolks. I had high hopes for them but was very disappointed in the result.
I think it’s only a matter of personal taste as Matthew really loved them. They were crumbly and quite shortbread-like.

I think lime and sweet biscuit/pastry don’t really work for me.

I read about a lemon cookie recipe but wasn’t too sure about it. Although, it won the award for the best cookie in the US so really, I had to try.

The cookies looked really underdone in the pictures so I experimented. I tried to bake one batch for the same length of time as on the recipe and with another batch I baked them for a few minutes longer, until golden, just to see the difference.

My advice is to take them out before they get golden otherwise they are just boring crispy lemon biscuits and don’t have that chewy moist texture.

I’ll definitly make them again, it was a really nice change from chocolate-chip biscuits, a bit fresh and definitely fresher and less sickly.

Next time though, I’ll add more lemon zest to make it stronger.

For 25 chewy lemon biscuits you’ll need:

– 115g of butter
– 200g of sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp of lemon zest
– 1 tbsp of lemon juice
– a pinch of salt
– 1/4 tsp of baking powder
– a pinch of baking soda
– 190g of plain flour
– 75 g of icing sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.

Add the egg, lemon juice, zest and salt.
Stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Make walnut sized balls, toss them in icing sugar, place them on a baking tray.

Cook at 180°C for about 10 minutes.

Leave to cool down and enjoy!

Mylène

Chocolate biscuits / cookies

When I haven’t got a very busy day, I usually look around the internet, reading blogs and websites just to see if they have any interesting recipes I could try myself. Well, let me tell you, this is really dangerous: I absolutely ALWAYS find something, usually sweet, of course, and want to make it straight away. “Oh but there is that tart we have to finish and some leftover fudge, I don’t really need to make anything else” The last sentence was the voice of reason, I don’t listen to it very often when it comes to cooking, so I find myself on a Sunday at 11pm with a whole batch of chocolate biscuits, on my own.

This recipe, I don’t regret a bit. I found the recipe on a french blog but obviously, the original version is Martha Stewart’s. These are definitely the best chocolate biscuits I’ve ever made.

They are basically a stiff brownie batter, made into biscuits. They are very chocolaty but not bitter at all, chewy but crisp on the outside… Yum. They are a bit messy to shape but if you don’t mind licking your chocolaty fingers once the batch is in the oven, this recipe is for you.

For 30 biscuits, you’ll need:

– 115g of dark chocolate
– 90g of flour
– 25g of cocoa powder
– 1 tsp of baking powder
– 60g of butter
– 150g of sugar
– 40g of milk
– 1 egg
– 60g of icing sugar, to coat

Melt the chocolate on its own and leave it to cool.

Cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the egg and melted chocolate and carry on mixing.

Sieve flour, cocoa and baking powder together in a bowl.

Add half of it to the chocolate mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the powders.

Leave the mix in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Take your dough and form walnut size balls, coat them in icing sugar and put on a tray. Space your balls at least 2 inches from each other.

Bake for 15 minutes. Do not leave them for more than that, they will look too soft but they will firm up when they cool down.

Eat cold.

chocolate biscuits

Mylène

A sold-out Christmas

This year, Christmas was CRAZY!! We ran out of boxes for our macarons and couldn’t get anymore from our French supplier. We also got a very very very big order for the beginning of january (but we are not aloud to say anything yet – top secret) so we didn’t really have any time for anything else.

So as you can imagine, I have very little time to sit down, have a cup of tea and write something. This is why I’m not going to give you a full recipe but only a great idea.

I made a starter for christmas eve, as all the family was at home. It was a first and I’ll definitly make it again.

On the day before, I made a mushroom and courgette risotto, I cooked it a tiny bit more than I would normally do as I needed to be able to shape it afterwards.

I left it in the fridge overnight.

About 30 mins before serving…

make balls with the risotto, about the size of an egg.

Coat the balls first with flour, then with lightly beaten egg and then with breadcrumbs.

Deep fry them until golden brown. (To keep them warm, leave them in an oven).

You can present them with some rocket, lettuce and watercress.

Everybody really loved them, they looked a lot like scotch eggs so they have a bit of a surprise effect. For any occasion’s starter, it’s really great and not too filling.

Mylene

Chocolate & chilli bread

For the chocolate week, I wanted to make something savoury with chocolate.

Sadly, most of the dishes I found that use chocolate as savoury weren’t vegetarian, so I thought of bread.

This chilli and chocolate bread can be used as savoury or sweet.
I chopped my chocolate so fine that you don’t get big chunks of it that are really sweet. I also used very dark chocolate.

This bread is not too hot at all, it makes the chilli stand out but doesn’t overpower the whole thing.

For a big loaf, you’ll need:

– 500g of strong flour
– 10g of salt
– 12g of dried yeast
– a splash of olive oil
– 340ml of water
– 1 tsp of flaked dried chilli
– 2 tbsp of very finely chopped chocolate

Put the flour, salt, chillies and yeast into a bowl and mix well.

Add the oil and water and knead for about 10min until smooth and elastic.

Add the chocolate and knead for another 2min.

Put the dough in a floured bowl, cover it with cling film and leave it to raise for an hour.

Put the raised dough on your work top and knead it for a minute to knock the air out.

Shape your bread as desired; I usually make mine plaited.
Put the bread on a baking sheet, cover it with a tea towel and leave for an other hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, egg-wash the bread if you want and cook it for 25min or until golden brown.

Eat toasted with butter, jam, cheese or just as it is.

finished loaf

Mylène

Holidays in Brittany

This summer, we went to visit my family in Brittany in the family house I grew up in.
We had such a lovely time all together, the weather wasn’t the best but we made up for it with a lot of time just enjoying the company of each other.

I don’t really have any recipe to share from the holiday, only ideas.

As my little sister and brother love salted caramel, they were jumping around when I told them I could make some just as good as the one they buy at the supermarket, “Before you leave, can you make 1..no 3…no 8 jars of it pleeeease?” they pleaded.

So to make them extra happy I made salted caramel ice cream as my mum has an ice cream machine.

I followed a plain vanilla ice cream recipe and added a portion of salted caramel sauce (you can find the recipe on my last post).

At the last minute some more people arrived to eat with us so my “6 servings” ice cream became a “10 servings”.
To serve my ice cream, I sprinkled some crushed shortbread and put a little curl of chocolate on it.
I think it made all the difference.

Also, we had crêpes made on a special breton pan. Nearly all the older folks in my family make them.
They make it look so easy but when I have a try, it comes out looking more like mangled lace than pancake!

It’s a tradition to have buckwheat pancake batter as a savoury and a slightly sweet wheat batter for sweet.
I’m useless at making Crêpes Bretonnes. To make them properly, you need a lot of practise.
My mum is always saying that I should buy a pan and make them in the UK. I don’t think I’ll be motivated enough to practise regularly but who knows? Maybe one day soon….

Watch this space.

Mylène

Berry swirl bun internet research…..

When I have some free time on my own, I cook, of course, and I love looking for new recipes, usually on the internet.
It was during one of these moments that I found this recipe. It’s Jamie Oliver’s one, which means that you can’t really be disappointed.
So, the recipe is a Swedish bun with berries. The official recipe is with blueberries but I used blackcurrants, which are sharper and go very well with sweet buns.

Like any buns or pastries, it’s better just when it’s straight out of the oven so don’t feel bad if you can’t resist!

You’ll need:

–  One packet of yeast (7g) stirred in
–  375 ml of warm milk
–  2 eggs
–  A teaspoon of grounded cardamom
–  200g of sugar
–  A bit of salt
–  800g of plain flour
–  50g of melted butter
–  For the filling: between 200 and 400g of berries of your choice, roughly mashed in 75g of sugar and a tiny bit of orange juice

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, the salt, cardamom, butter, sugar, 500g of flour and the milk and yeast mixture.

It’s going to be thick and sticky.

Then add the rest of the flour. Knead this dough until it’s soft and lovely.

Put it back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and leave it to raise in a warm place for an hour or until it doubles of size.

Put the dough on your worktop and make a rectangle with it (use your hands). It doesn’t have to be big, about 30 cm long and 20 large.

Pour the berry mixture on it and then take the edges of your pastry and fold it in the middle and press gently to let the berries go into the pastry. Fold again.

It doesn’t have to be precise, it’s actually supposed to be quit messy.

Cut the dough into eight bits (I like having little portions so you can cut it into more than eight) and stretch and pull each portion in a long thin “kind of sausage”.

Roll this around your finger and put it on a baking tray with baking parchment on.

Do the same with all of the portions.

Leave these uncooked buns for 30 min in a warm place.

Cook for half an hour at 180°C until gold and crispy.

Tadaaaaam!!!!

A British recipe with a French touch….

That’s it, they’re gone, my 600 little precious macaroons are gone to be eaten very soon.

It was quite hard work but I thought it would be much more effort.

So now, it’s back to business as usual, the weekly order for a lovely shop in Northampton, St.Giles cheese.

Like I’m not too busy this week, I’ve got time to share a recipe! I’m not going to tell you the macaroon one mainly because it takes ages to make and because it’s a quite difficult recipe to explain. You can of course find a macaroon recipe on other websites.

So here’s my version of the best ever apple crumble. It’s a bit strange for me because it’s a proper British pudding and I’m French but I love to make it for my greedy boyfriend. Anyway, the recipe…

You’ll need (for 4 people):

–  About 4 large apples
–  150g of sugar (with demerara, it’s better I find)
–  100g of plain flour
–  100g of butter
–  A good pinch of cinnamon

First, peel and cut the apples into medium pieces.

Melt 20g of butter in a large pan.

When it’s all melted, add 50g of the sugar and stir it until you’ve got a nice caramel (don’t burn it!!!!!) it’s going to take about 3 min.

Add the apples and cinnamon and leave them to cook about 3 min in this lovely caramel and stir a few times. Then pour the apples into an oven tin.

Into a bowl, pour the flour and the rest of the sugar. Mix it together.

Melt the rest of the butter and pour it into the flour and sugar mixture. Mix it up with a fork until you obtain a nice crumble topping (if the mixture is too floury, add some more butter, add flour if the mixture looks too moist).

Put the mixture on the top of the apples and bake for 30 min at 180°C, until the top is golden.

Let it cool down a bit (if you can wait) and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miam!

Mylène