I often tell my family that I don’t feel my age. Not that I’m that old yet, but sometimes I just don’t feel like I’m almost 22. Other times however, the times when I think about my childhood in Indonesia, it seems like I must be almost 100 years old and it’s been forever ago since we’ve lived there because I can barely remember the amazing time we had.
My time in Indonesia was definitely one of the best times in my life so far and the few memories that I still have of that time are of some of the most important days in my life that I spend with my family and my two best friends, one was from England, the other from Australia. I spent day after day with my friends and have learned so much from them. Examples: My English friend taught me to drink milk or chocolate milk with my dinner (something that I did too excessive I think because today I rarely ever drink pure milk just like that!). From my Australian friend I learned about some of the most wonderful and most delicious cakes ever. We used to spend hours in the kitchen, licking cookie batter and decorating butter cookies and on special occasions we made these…
… Lamingtons are sponge cakes coated in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. If you ask me they are one of the most delicious cakes on earth! And I’m sure you will agree!
makes 16-20 cakes
For the sponge cake you will need:
- 75g self-raising flour
- 75g plain flour
- 70g corn flour
- 6 eggs
- 215 g caster sugar
For the icing you will need (recipe from Family Circle: Little Aussie Cookbook):
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 30g butter, melted
- 2/3 cup milk
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and brush a square cake tin with butter or oil.
- Sift flours and corn flour together into a large bowl. Add eggs and sugar and mix everything until the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 35 minutes.
- For great results, trim crusts from sides of the cake. Cut the cake into 16-20 even squares.
- For the icing, sift together icing sugar and cocoa. Combine with butter and milk in heatproof bowl.
- Stand the bowl over a pot with simmering water, stirring the icing until it is smooth.
- Using two for forks or skewers, roll a piece of cake in chocolate icing, allow excess icing to drop off and then roll in coconut. Repeat with the rest of the cakes.
Hope you like these as much as I do. For extra good results, prepare the cake the day before coating it with icing. Trust me, it works wonders!
Yesterday I made the 11th (and I’m sad to say) final cookie flavor for this year’s cookie collection. We have always made rum balls in the past but they’re not really a family favorite as most people in my family don’t like rum. But being the good sister that I am, I made these especially for my older brother Alex, who I know doesn’t mind the taste of rum that much…..so he better appreciate my effort! I also included lots of nuts (healthy fat) to make up for the unhealthy fat from the chocolate and cream.
makes about 50 rum balls
You will need:
- 1/8 l cream
- 300g dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g grated nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
- 4 cl rum
- desiccated coconut
- chocolate sprinkles
- In a pan, heat up the cream and wait for it to boil. Then turn down the heat.
- Add the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Then add the nuts and rum. Mix well.
- Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes. It should then have the perfect consistency to form small balls.
- After forming the balls roll them in chocolate sprinkles or desiccated coconut.
- Store in an airtight container.
In Austria, baking a variety of Christmas cookies is a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation. Each year I cannot wait for my mum to start baking our favorite Christmas cookies because it officially marks the beginning of the holiday season. We usually bake somewhere between 7-10 different kinds of cookies (a little on the extreme side!), some with chocolate, some with jam and our family favorite Vanilla-Almond Crescents (“Vanillekipferl”). Additionally to the flavors my mum bakes, my grandparents also bring their cookies when they come for Christmas so you can imagine that there is lots to choose from. As good as the other cookies are, these Vanilla-Almond Crescents will always be my favorite and I highly recommend you trying the recipe very soon. I promise you won’t regret it!
Austrian Vanilla-Almond Crescents
You will need:
For the cookies:
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 210g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 100 g ground almonds
- 70g confectioner’s sugar
For the sugar dust:
- 50g confectioner’s sugar
- 50g vanilla sugar
- Start by sifting together the flour, ground almonds and confectioner’s sugar. Mix well. Then add the chunks of butter and by using your hands form a dough (shortcrust).
- Once the dough is all clumped together form a big dough ball and wrap it into cling film. Let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Once you are ready to bake the cookies preheat the oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
- Unwrap the cling film and start forming the dough into small crescents. Try to shape them into even sized crescents so the baking time stays the same. Place the crescent onto the parchment paper.
- Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes. They should not be brown but rather still be fairly light.
- Whilst the crescents are baking prepare the sugar dust by sifting together the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla sugar into a bowl.
- When the cookies are done baking and whilst still warm carefully roll them into the sugar mixture. (Be careful as the warm cookies tend to break easily!)
- Once cooled store them in an airtight container or eat them immediately!
Ideally you will want your cookies to look like this…
…but my stomach and I don’t discriminate so we eat them whatever their shape or size!
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!
As promised here is the recipe for my Flapjacks. This is a fairly standard recipe and can be adapted to fit any season by adding dried fruit or chocolate chips, etc. I’ll try making one that tastes just like Christmas in the next week or so. To be honest, the smell reminded me of Lamingtons (one of my favorite desserts) and that’s why I probably like them so much. The first thing Christina commented on was how good they smell…chocolate and coconut, how can you go wrong with that?
I have been trying out different variations ever since the summer. The batch that I made then turned out to be very crumbly, but the taste was fine. I then tried adding maple syrup instead of honey and just did not like them that much. These flapjacks are very healthy (depending on how much chocolate you add). They do include brown rice syrup which gives them their sweetness, but most conventional recipes include butter which is not needed for these flapjacks, so don’t worry about the chocolate too much!
Flapjacks (Basic Recipe)
Makes 8-10 bars
You will need:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. protein powder (this is optional, but using chocolate protein powder will make them even more chocolatey!)
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (you may need a little extra depending on the consistency of the mixture)
- 2 tbsp. nut butter
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 100g chocolate (either milk or dark chocolate)
- coconut flakes
- If you want to glaze the flapjacks with chocolate now is the time to prepare a water bath. Let the chocolate melt and stir occasionally.
- Combine the oats, cinnamon and protein powder in a bowl.
- In a separate (heat-proof!) bowl combine the brown rice syrup, nut butter and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture up on medium heat in the microwave until everything in well combined.
- Pour the brown rice syrup mixture into the oats and stir well.
- Pour the mixture into a pan and press it in. Pour the chocolate onto the oat mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and freeze for about 15 minutes. Cut into 8-10 pieces.