I am indebted to my mate Joe for sharing his recipe for pecan pie that uses maple syrup rather than the devil’s work, corn syrup. And this. This recipe changed my life. No really. My life is better knowing this recipe exists and these biscuits can be made. In my weekly radio spot on ABC Mid North Coast this morning I shared the love so here it is for you too. You know what you have to do. Get that oven on.
I, like nearly every other biscuit maker in Australia simply used to Women’s Weekly recipe for choc chip biscuits. Fail proof, reliable and tasty that recipe really does tick all the boxes. But a few years back now a friend of mine gave me her recipe. It’s pretty similar to the WW one but somehow better. If you like a soft chewy biscuit this is your gal. If you don’t mind them flat then bake them straight-away, otherwise fridge (or freeze) the dough.
Choc chip biscuits
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (heaped)
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups choc chips
1/2-1 cup of chopped nuts (if you so wish)
Preheat oven to 180 and get your baking trays ready
Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until pale then add the eggs and beat until well incorporated
Lower the speed on your mixed and add the dry ingredients
Tip in the choc chips and turn the speed up to incorporate (if you’re using chunks this breaks it up into various sizes which makes for an extra special biscuit)
Now, you can make the biscuits straight away by spooning heaped teaspoons onto your tray or make logs of the dough (get some cling film, spoon dough in a log shape) wrap and fridge or freeze. (if you’re using from the freezer just cut into chunks/slices and bake straightaway – no need to let it defrost)
Bake for 12 or so minutes depending on if you like super soft biscuits or darker and more crunchy.
I have a go to flourless orange cake which I adore, but the other day had some divine paesanella ricotta hanging around that needed to be used. Seeing as I’m doing the whole no carbs with fat/protein and no refined carbs a nifty little batch of ricotta gnocchi was out of the question (quietly sobs) and I was at a bit of a loss when I came across this Ben O’Donoghue and thought BINGO! It has a smidge of (semolina) flour in it but I was willing to overlook it. I love Ben’s recipes and he was always my favourite in Surfing the Menu. Curtis Stone is just a little to much of a show-pony-pretty-boy for my cooking likes.
‘My’ custard powder pastry recipe and the associated free-form apple pie is his Nan’s and I reckon that’s pretty cool.
So let’s get on with it.
Lemon ricotta cake (in which I used oranges)
Recipe from: At home with Ben, Ben O’Donoghue
6 eggs, separated
250g ground almonds
65g semolina flour
Juice of 3 lemons
Rind of 6 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 26cm springform cake tin
Beat the butter and sugar until very pale then add the egg yolks one at a time
Combine the almond meal, semolina, half the lemon zest and half the juice (although when I made it with oranges I added all the zest because I didn’t read the recipe properly. Rookie mistake) and fold into the butter and sugar mixture
Crumble in the ricotta and fold through (Ben appears to leave it in little chunks whereas my ricotta was wetter so was more incorporated)
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold through the mixture
Pour into the tin and bake for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean (I find with flourless cakes the time can vary massively – just persevere and cover with foil if you’re worried the top is getting too dark)
Make a syrup with the remaining juice, zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water by bringing it to the boil then reducing by half (I sort of forgot to read this bit and just made a syrup of equal parts sugar and juice)
Pour over the cake and eat until you can eat no more.
When I was in primary school we lived on Sydney’s North Shore in a suburb called Lindfield. If we won lotto I would probably spontaneously start looking at houses in Lindfield such is my love of that place, nevermind it is 30 years later and it has changed more than I care to accept or that our lives are now firmly etched into Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Lindfield and indeed the North Shore calls me back time and time again.
We had a little row of shops just across from the train station. There was Mr Steenbolm’s chemist, our doctor down the laneway, an old lady’s dress shop, a milk bar (owned by the compulsory and seemingly only Greek family in the area) and best of all, the cake shop. Most Saturday’s mum would take my brother and I to the cake shop for a treat. Mine? A pineapple passionfruit tart while my brother used to get a sausage roll. My GOD those sausage rolls were good.
There was a glass L-shaped counter, one side taken up solely with display cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Remember when you would get those little figurines to sit on the top of the cake? I still have the ballerinas and Mum still has the cricketers that appeared on our respective cakes for years.
The other side was a hotbed of mock cream and sugar. Neenish tarts, Pineapple Passionfruit tarts, those marzipan green frog tarts (which I once begged mum for and proceeded to scar me for life on all things marzipan), palmiers, meringue mice, big fat wedges of vanilla slice, custard tarts showered in nutmeg, gingerbread men and a sugar topped apple slice. I must confess that apple slice never piqued my imagination as there was so much else vying for my attention. But then Fiona at Inner Pickle posted a recipe for an apple slice and all of a sudden I was 8 and back in that cake shop.
This is now on such high rotation in our house that if there is none people, Jasper in particular, get antsy. It is his absolute favourite above all else. It has kicked my lemon curd slice to the curb and THAT is saying something.
This recipe was introduced to my by Bec, my partner in blogging crime way back when we blogged together on Glamorouse. My GOD I can’t believe that was SEVEN years ago.
Anyway, this is carrot cake made better. A humingbird cake but not. There was a story behind it which I can no longer recall but the cake, this cake is my absolute favourite. That’s right. More than a chocolate one or a simple butter cake, this, this is my Queen of Cakes.
Baking makes some people nervous but really, it’s just about slowing down and going with it. This cake (below) I only lightly drained the pineapple and dumped the whole can in rather than the designated 1/2 cup. I then did 2 heaped cups of SR flour instead and voila, perfection.
Rotary Ladies Cake
2 heaped cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrot (3 small-medium carrots)
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 440g can crushed pinapple, drained
1/2 cup sultanas or raisins
1/2 cup walnuts (or nut of choice, or leave out altogether as I often do)
Preheat the oven to 180C, line a 24cm or rectangular cake tin
Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl then stir in the dry
Add the carrot, fruit and nuts then pour into the tin
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until it bounces back at a light touch or a knife comes out clean
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a cake rack
You can leave it un-iced, perfectly acceptable or put a simple lemon glaze on it (icing sugar mixed with enough lemon juice to pour over the cake) or a cream cheese icing.