Welcome to my new look blog. I have been planning this move for several months, and with anything new, it took longer than initially anticipated to launch. This is a place to share a more personalised and visual version of cooking for my family. A place to share stories from my kitchen and garden. And experiment more with photography as I have often worked with professional photographers to photograph my food. And you can now leave comments… and please do! I love to hear from others out there reading and cooking my recipes. To to be notified by email when I write a new post ‘subscribe’ on the sidebar. I promise no spam and your email address will not be shared.
So to celebrate my new blog I baked some cookies. Something I rarely find time for these days with a 9 month old and 2 1/2 year old in tow. My day tends to revolve around sleeps, play dates, shopping, and preparing a wholesome dinner… sound familiar? When we do bake it tends to be necessities such as bread or muesli bars for lunch boxes.
Hazelnut & Orange Cookies
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 100 g soft butter or coconut oil for a dairy-free version
- 1/3 cup unrefined golden sugar
- 1 free-range egg room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- zest of 1 orange
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup unbleached white flour [GF: use 3/4 cup rice flour + 1/4 cup tapioca/ corn flour]
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven 150C. Place the hazelnuts in an oven tray and dry-toast in the oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool. Then tip onto a tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Grind until fine in a food processor/ grinder.
- Cream the soft butter and sugar in a food processor. Add the egg and vanilla and process again until smooth and creamy. [A tip from my Nana - always use room temperature eggs when baking or the mixture may split at this stage]. Add the ground hazelnuts, orange zest, salt, flours and baking powder and pulse until the mixture comes together, scraping down the sides and pulsing again. [If making gluten-free cookies - at this stage put the food processor bowl with the cookie dough into the fridge and chill for 20-30 minutes. I find the gluten-free flours need to settle a bit before rolling or the dough will be too soft.]
- Preheat the oven 180C. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and arrange evenly spaced on a lined baking tray. Press with your fingers or a fork to shape into cookie rounds. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Cool on a cake rack.
Reducing Sugar in Recipes
When I bake I like to keep the sugar content low and boost up the protein with extra eggs, ground nuts or yogurt. If I bake a recipe which is not my own (as I rarely use more than 1/3 cup of sugar in my sweet recipes), I reduce the amount of sugar to 1/3 cup. If I am baking a cake or muffin recipe I will replace the rest of the total sugar quantity with a liquid – yogurt, apple sauce, mashed banana, extra egg, milk of choice. It needs to be a liquid as sugar dissolves when it is mixed with oist ingredients. For example, if I was baking a carrot cake with 1 cup sugar in the original recipe I would use 1/3 cup sugar and add 2/3 cup yogurt. For cookies I just reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup sugar and hope for the best… and they usually work out just fine and sweet enough even with the lower sugar content.