Cookie Tin: Tahini & Cardamom Cookies + Fig & Orange Biscuits

Little moments to look forward to are what get me through the winter days. Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t mind winter, but the short days and long cold nights have a different feel to the carefree nature of spring and summer. A cuppa and a cookie, when the kids get home from school, is one of those daily rituals. Ideally sitting in the last of the sun is an extra bonus on sunny days. Our valley garden loses the sun around 3.45 pm in winter so making the most of the sunlight is always a priority.

The low sun hours slow my garden right down from May to August. This is the time to focus on resting the soil before preparing for spring planting. Meanwhile, there is some slow-growing going on with the garlic and multiplying onions planted in autumn. While fennel, kohlrabi and broad beans will kick into gear as the winter months draw to an end. My spring garden is often my most productive if I have been organised in autumn.

But back to that moment of pause with a cuppa and cookie. Today I share two current favourite cookie recipes – with no chocolate in sight, but there are a few links below if that is what you are craving. First up is Tahini & Cardamom Cookies, a perfect match of flavours and chewy texture. I know I have said this before, but tahini is one of my all-time favourite ingredients. Plus a good old tea-dunker with Fig & Orange Biscuits, ever so reminiscent of a Fruit Digestive (iykyk).  It is hard to pick a favourite between the two so I had to share both! I hope they satisfy a moment of calm/joy in your day too.

More Cookie recipes on Homegrown Kitchen:

Tahini & Cardamom Cookies

One bowl (or pan in this case) cookies are my jam. So is tahini so these are at the top of my list of cookies to make. They come together quickly with a fun, while optional, sesame crust for extra texture. The flour component can be mixed and matched to use what you have. I like to make them gluten-free using ½ cup almond meal and ½ cup buckwheat flour. Cardamom is a slightly more obscure spice, while one I think is worth the fanfare. I simply crack open 4-5 cardamom pods, tip the seeds into a mortar and pestle and grind them into a powder. It is a strong flavoured spice so a small amount is all that is required. Suggested spice substitute included in the recipe. 
Servings 15 cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 100 g butter
  • cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom or mixed spice
  • 1 cup (150g) flour (any combination - see recipe headnote)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C). Line an oven/cookie tray with baking paper.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, honey, tahini, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
  • Add the spice, flour and salt, and continue mixing into a smooth dough.
  • Place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes - so to firm up the cookie dough for easier rolling, a step I don’t suggest missing.
  • If using, scatter the sesame seeds onto a plate. Shape the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls, rolling in sesame seeds if using, then arrange them on the tray. Press each ball down gently with your fingers to shape. Bake for 12 minutes until golden, or if you like your cookies on the crisper side cook for 15 minutes.
  • Cool cookies on a rack. Store in a cookie tin or sealed container and consume within five days.

Notes

*Recipe first published 23 July 2022 in 'Your Weekend' for Stuff.co.nz

 

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Fig & Orange Biscuits

If you are a cheese and fruit fan these dried fruit sweetened biscuits are quite lovely served with wedges of creamy camembert or brie. If you are not a cheese plus fruit fan these biscuits also make excellent tea dunkers. I particularly like this type of biscuit dough that is rolled into a log and chilled as it can be prepared ahead of time - up to 3 days in advance. Half of the dough can be baked, then the other half baked a few days later, or frozen for another day. 
Servings 24 biscuits
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 100 g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 75 g dried figs (about ½ cup), roughly chopped
  • Zest of half an orange, about 1 tsp
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour (can use gluten-free flour mix)
  • ¼ cup (35g) wholemeal flour (use buckwheat flour for gluten-free)
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • In a food processor combine the butter, sugar and dried figs until the figs are finely chopped and the butter is creamy. (The dough could also be mixed by hand by mixing together the butter and sugar until smooth. Then finely chop the figs and mix them into the butter mixture.)
  • Add the flours, spice, baking soda and salt, then pulse the processor (or mix by hand) until the mixture comes together. Scrape down the sides of the processor as needed.
  • Tip the dough onto a sheet of baking paper (or beeswax wrap). Shape into a log about 5cm wide and 20cm long, by wrapping and rolling the paper around the dough. Twist the ends firmly to secure, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
  • When ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC). Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
  • Unwrap the dough and slice the log into 6mm thick rounds. You don’t have to bake the whole log at once. Cut as many biscuits as you want to bake, then re-wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Arrange the biscuits on the prepared tray with 1-2cm space between each - they won’t spread a lot during cooking. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. Cool on the tray, then store in a biscuit tin for up to 1 week. Serve with wedges of creamy cheese, or dunk into a cuppa.

Notes

*Recipe first published 22nd October 2022 in 'Your Weekend' for Stuff.co.nz

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