Soft, Chewy Peppakakor Cookies

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I tried these cookies on our Christmas trip to Bergen where bought them in this little underground supermarket at the bottom of the shopping centre. They were a seasonal special and I scrutinised the ingredients and scoured the Internet for something similar but all I could find were recipes for the usual crunchy, biscuit style Peppakakor. We saw these in abundance at the wonderful gingerbread town that happens each year in Bergen.

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But I loved the taste of these more squidgy cookies so I decided to recreate them. Why in May though?

Well, I told my fabulous friend Laura about these cookies and she loved the sound of them. Unfortunately they were only dated for a few days and she lives in Qatar so sending her some wasn’t going to work. I promised her that next time she came home I’d make her some and it just so happens that was for our friend’s wedding this May.

So here is my version:

Ingredients:

375g plain flour (all purpose)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
170g salted butter softened
150g packed dark brown sugar
100g dark treacle
1 egg (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
220g dark chocolate chocolate chopped into chunks.

Method:

Whisk together the flour and spices including the pepper and cocoa in a large bowl.

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In a stand mixer or hand mixer, soften the butter using the paddle attachment (about 2 mins on high or 4-5 on a lower speed – my hubby was still asleep when I made these so I had to go longer and lower).

Then measure out a third of the sugar in a small bowl and add 20g of treacle and mix together well with a fork until it isn’t clumpy or sticky. Then add another third of the sugar and another 20g of treacle and repeat. Add the last third of the sugar and mix well with a fork. Finish off by crumbling between your fingers like you would when making pastry to get rid of any clumps.

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Next, add this treacle sugar to the butter and mix for 2 mins on high or 4-6 on a slower speed until it is lovely and fluffy.

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Then add the rest of the treacle, vanilla and the egg and beat again.

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After that, spoon in the dry ingredients slowly with the mixer on low and mix until just combined (avoid over mixing).

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Finally, tip in the chocolate chunks with the mixer still on low.

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Turn out into a small bowl and cover tightly. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You can do it for up to 3 days if you prefer but leave the dough out for a little while before baking if you do.

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Once chilled, preheat the oven to 170C.

Line baking trays with baking paper and take scoops of dough with an ice cream scoop.

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Roll in to balls and place well spread out on the trays.

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Bake for 8-9 minutes. Take out and squash with you fingers or a spoon then bake for 1 more minute.

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Cool for 10 mins or so before moving to a wire rack.

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Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

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Such an amazing idea. Delicious, soft scoop ice cream with only 2 ingredients. No dairy and no added sugar but sooo yummy.

The recipe is here:

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

But it’s so simple:

Chop up some bananas into small pieces (overripe ones are sweeter) and freeze. I left mine all day and made it in the evening but the original recipe suggests 2 hours.

I chopped mine and placed it in a bag after every few chops to stop the air getting to it and turning it brown. Once i’d chopped them all, (I had about 7 but used half to make the amount in the picture) I squeezed the air out and wrapped it up tight.

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When I took them out they were very hard so I gave them 10 seconds in the microwave and broke them up with a fork.

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Next using a hand held blender I blitzed them until they started to turn creamy.

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At this stage it has the consistency of ice cream but I wasn’t keen on the ripe banana flavour so I preferred the chocolate version. To turn it chocolatey you add 2 tablespoons of cocoa. Also if it’s not sweet enough you can add some fruit syrup (I use sweet freedom). Then blitz it again until it’s all mixed together.

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Served immediately it is just like soft scoop ice cream.

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After its been refrozen for a while it’s more like standard scoop.

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Of course a little chocolate sauce can’t hurt either! Mmmm (sweet freedom choc shot).

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I can’t wait to try this out with lots of different flavours I’m thinking raspberry, mini choc chip, banoffee. The possibilities are endless!

Doughnuts three ways

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These baked doughnuts are lovely whether coated with crispy sugar, cinnamon or maple glaze.

As is often the case for me, the basic recipe comes from Sallysbakingaddiction.com but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t feel the need to tweak it.

I recently tasted a delicious cookie and read through the ingredients to see if I could spot the difference. It contained a sugar mix that included treacle. It reminded me of the Peppakakor cookies I loved on our Christmas trip to Bergen (definitely a goal for another baking day and blog post!) so inspired by that, I thought I’d change up the sugar in these a little. I used some treacle and golden syrup to sub in for some of the brown sugar.

Two main lessons I learnt were:
Slow and low – I lowered the temp in this recipe to about 160 as they were browning on the outside before they were cooked.
Doughnut pans are not all made equal! Whilst the silicon was a dream for turning out, the centre of each of the doughnut moulds in the pan wasn’t high enough. This meant a teeny bit too much mixture and the holes totally closed up.

Way too much mixture used in my first batch!:

Anyway after a while I got the hang of the right amount and here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

125g plain flour (all purpose)
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 large egg
2 tablespoons salted butter melted
60g Greek yogurt
30ml milk
35g light brown sugar
15g treacle
15g Golden Syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Maple glaze: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/09/17/maple-glazed-donuts/

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160c.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients except the sugar.

3. Whisk together the egg, sugar, treacle, golden syrup,  yogurt and milk and vanilla in another bowl. Whisk well to ensure the treacle and golden syrup aren’t stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

4. Tip the wet into the dry until just mixed with no dry clumps.

5. Spoon into a piping bag and cut a decent sized hole in the end. Pipe into the cavities but make sure they are not too full. About half way worked for me but experiment with your doughnut pan.

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6. Bake for 10 minutes roughly but watch carefully. Allow to cool before dipping.

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I dipped some in the maple glaze (double the above if you like it thick), the others I brushed with melted butter on one side and dipped the wet side into granulated sugar or a equal mix of cinnamon and granulated sugar.

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