Snickerdoodles

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Well, its been a busy week, with riding lessons, nurse and hospital appointments,meeting up with friends, parents visiting, friends visiting and watching rugger ( what else!) oh and the dreaded thesis work continues albeit at a very slow pace.

A very close old school friend was visiting relatives nearby, so we took the opportunity of only being 40 minutes away from each other, as opposed to 3 1/2 hours away, to meet up for a gossip, lunch and a wee spot of shopping. We had agreed I would pick her up and have a coffee  ( or a fly cup) with her lovely Granddad, who I haven’t seen for about 18 years, his partner and my friends daughter, before heading out for the day.

Oh, how times have changed, as our get togethers used to consist of copious amounts of alcohol ( some unidentifiable), singing loudly and out of tune , losing a purse or contents of a bag, then heading to the latest opening local pub for the most awesome cheese toasties in the world!

Anyhoo, given that I was invited for a cuppa I thought it would be nice to bring along some home baking, and I thought Snickerdoodles would be a good choice.

Snickerdoodles are not a common biscuit ( or cookie or whatever you call them) in Scotland, with most people I have made these for having never even heard of them, let alone tasted them. Despite this, everyone I have made them for, has loved them, both adults and children.

The good thing about Snickerdoodles is that they are so simple to make and the ingredients are ones that you will have on hand in your store cupboard already.  The dough does need to chill for an hour, so overall they do take about 1 hour and 40 mins to make, but its not an excessive amount of time by any stretch of the imagination.

Also the name Snickerdoodle… is it just the child in me that thinks this name is funny? What does this name even mean?

This is my go to snickerdoodle recipe . I’m not sure where it came from, it simply appeared in my recipe book scribbled in pink ink and covered with the remnants of snickerdoodle ingredients.

Ingredients- (makes about 12 Snickerdoodles).

Cookie: 113 grams of butter ( only Scottish Organic butter will do for me!), 112 grams of granulated sugar, 55 grams of brown sugar, 1 egg ( organic or when I can’t get this I use local), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 210 grams of plain flour ( Scottish farm milled), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Topping: 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Cream the butter and both the brown and granulated sugars together ( but not the 2 tablespoons of sugar indicated in the topping section of the ingredients). Then add the egg and the vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover in cellophane or wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

At this point for me it was 7:30am, and I was still in my jammies, so my hour was spent showering, drying and straightening hair, applying make up, eventually deciding what to wear and dressing…. funny how an hour goes by so quickly! Maybe you can spend your hour doing something more exciting.

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Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a separate bowl.

Pinch about 2 tablespoons of dough from the ball of dough and roll into a small ball. Then roll the ball into the sugar/ cinnamon mix to cover and place on a lined baking tray.

Bake for between 14- 18 minutes or until golden brown. In my oven it takes the whole 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

 

 

 

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Farmhouse Fruit Cake

I recently purchased a couple of new ( well new to me, they were actually described as used, hence the cheap price I got them for) cookbooks. One of which was the “Yeo Valleys Great British Farmhouse” cookbook by Sarah Mayor which contains traditional recipes made as she was growing up on the family farm as well as recipes made today in their staff / conference venue restaurant.

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How cute is this cover with the cartoon cow and carrots!

 

I noted there was a recipe for Farmhouse Fruit cake, and given that I love fruit cake/loaf, and so does my hubby, I knew I had to give this recipe a go.

Ingredients

550 grams of mixed fruit ( I used a mixture of raisins, sultanas, cranberries, mixed peel, dates and apricots, but you could use whatever you had one hand), 120ml of boiling water, 450 grams of Self Raising flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixed spice, a large pinch of salt, 300 grams of soft butter, 300 grams of caster sugar, 4 medium eggs, 200mls of whole milk and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar ( although the recipe states demerara however I didn’t have any).

Add the mixed fruit to a bowl and add the hot water. Stir together and leave for 1 hour, going back and stirring occasionally.  After 1 hour, place the fruit onto a tea towel and dry. Beware it will cover your towel with a gunky brown mess!  Photo evidence below.

Then add the fruit to a dry bowl and add two tablespoons from the 450 grams of flour and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 150° C and grease and line a 9 inch cake tin. My lining has a funny fold as I didn’t quite get the size of the tin right and cut the length too short, so had to add another piece to fill the gap! The recipe also advised to fold a few sheets of newspaper to create a thick band and wrap around the outside of the tin. Tie in place with some string. This is to protect the cake sides from being overly browned or burnt especially with being in the oven for a long time.

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Sift the remaining flour and the mixed spice into a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each one, however add a tablespoon of flour with each of the last two eggs.  The add half the remaining flour, half the milk, then the rest of the flour and then the rest of the milk, mixing well after each addition.

 

 

Then fold the fruit into the mix,  pour into the cake tin and sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place in the oven.

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The recipe states to cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes, however I cooked mine for 1 hour and 30 minutes in a fan assisted oven and it was ready when I tested with a cocktail stick ( it came out clean). I would recommend keeping an eye on it but not opening the oven door too early. Never open the oven door until the cake is 3/4 of the way through the cooking time given. Opening the door early will mean the temperature will drop and the cake could collapse. Thanks Queen Delia for this brill tip!

Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes or so and remove the side of the cake tin. I left the bottom of the tin and the grease proof paper on until the cake was completely cool , then removed them.

I found that my fruit sank to the bottom despite covering them in flour. In the future I would add more flour to the mixture to see if I could make this cake mix less liquid in order to stop the fruit sinking.

This recipe makes quite a big cake, so would recommend making if you are having a lot of people over or you love fruit cake. Hubbie comes in for his lunch every day with his colleague and they both enjoy a fancy piece* or two with their cuppa tea so this will get devoured pretty quickly in our house! Or you could half the recipe and use a smaller cake tin.

*A ” fancy piece” means a cake in Scotland, actually its usually just in the North East ( Aberdeen/ Aberdeenshire) that I have found this term used and there its pronounced ” Funcee”.  However a “piece or pieces” simply means sandwiches, although I find myself dropping the ” fancy” and simply using “piece” for cake…. just to confuse you more!

Sorry for the impromptu Scots language lesson!

 

 

 

 

Fake Dan Cake

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This weekend was a busy and varied one with alot of driving and rushing about, but also a lot of fun.  On the Saturday, hubbie had a rugger game to play and we also had his cousins 21st Birthday party in the evening. On the Sunday we visited hubbie’s gran, saw some newborn lambs at his Uncles farm, as well as going to visit friends and their lovely wee baby girl.

Whilst hubbie was away at rugger on the Saturday, I had just had enough time to whip up a wee cake for our Sunday visit to friends.

Now, I wanted to make a Dan cake. Not sure why its called a Dan cake but this was a cake that our friend, who had been my hubbie’s flatmate at University, used to devour, not by the slice, but by the cake. As I recall it was basically a lemon madeira cake, in a half moon shape with thick icing on the top with a chocolate swirly pattern on top.  I have never been able to buy it in the shops since we left Uni , so I had a difficult time remembering how it actually tasted.

As I was unable to find a recipe I decided to use the basic madeira cake recipe from Nigella but added slightly more lemon juice and lemon zest and made up a basic icing topping, to make a ” Fake Dan Cake”.

Madeira cake is my dads favourite cake and I always make it, when he comes to visit or I  visit him, using this Nigella recipe. It is a really good, simple and easy recipe and I have found the cake turns out perfect each time (Oops think I just jinxed this now!).

Ingredients

240 grams of softened butter, 200 grams of caster sugar ( original recipe also states to have some extra sugar to sprinkle on top prior to going in oven, but I skipped this step as I was going to cover the top with icing), grated zest and juice of 2 lemons ( original recipe is 1 ), 3 large eggs, 210 grams of self raising flour and 90 grams of plain flour.

Topping: 125 grams of icing sugar and some cold water ( packet instructions)

Preheat oven to 170 °C. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.

 

Add the grated lemon zest

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Add the eggs one at a time and with each egg add a tablespoon of flour and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour and the lemon juice and mix well.

 

Spoon into a loaf pan ( I still used a loaf pan even though the original cake was in a half moon shape). Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Leave for about 5 minutes then remove from the loaf pan and place on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, make up some icing according to packet instructions and then drizzle on top from side to side.  So it actually looked nothing like the original Dan Cake, as it was not in a half moon shape nor did it have a thick icing layer on top and I couldn’t be 100% sure that it actually tasted like a Dan cake, but I went down very well.

Given the travelling we had to do on the Saturday, once the cake was ready I placed it in a cake carrier and strapped it into the back of my messy and dirty car and headed to pick up hubby from rugby.

 

Included a wee fuzzy photo of me and hubby at 21st party , smiles and red faces says it all!

Weekend. DONE!