It is usually around the holidays that I feel the need to bake spice cookies. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg never fail to put me in the christmas mood and it signifies the start of winter for me. This year, instead of baking traditional ginger bread men I decided to try a recipe for Russian Bread which I stumbled upon sometime back. What drew me to this cookie was that it was super easy to make and it only called for a few ingredients. Unlike the other christmas cookies which contain 101 spices and other ingredients, this only required 6. If that hasn’t sold you on it yet, then let me just say that its a delicious crunchy cinnamon chocolate delight!
Recipe is adapted from deliciousdays
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
Whip egg whites with pinch of salt until very stiff.
Fold in the sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cocoa powder until combined.
Mix in the flour. Preheat oven to 340 deg F. Cover the baking tray with parchment or use a silicon mat.
Fill a piping bag with a Wilton No 21 piping tip and pipe your designs on to the tray. The traditional way is to make alphabets but seeing that it’s Christmas, I decided to make snowflakes.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Make sure that you don’t under bake as the cookies will come out soft and sticky.
Cool the cookies and store in an airtight container.
Sorry for holding out on all of you, as requested, here’s the recipe to this lovely treat….
4oz crushed digestive biscuits
2oz melted butter
13oz (one can) condensed milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
8oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Mix the biscuits and melted butter together and press firmly into a 9-in sq pan.
2 Combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar and corn syrup in a small pan and heat over a low flame for 20 mins. Stir until sugar is dissolved and the caramel is smooth, thick and light brown in color.
3 Remove from heat and allow it to cool off slightly before pouring it over the biscuit base. Set the pan aside.
4 Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and sit it over a pot of boiling water. Stir till chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.
5 Spread over the caramel.
6 Allow to it to set in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before serving.
During the time I lived in England, I avoided much of their local cuisine as I never had a particular fondness for pig’s blood let alone it being congealed into a pie or sausage. Having said that, I did have a weakness for their baked goods. I must admit, English do make very good puddings and I suspect it has something to do with their love of having daily teatimes. Something’s very well got to be served with their cuppa. And by doing so they’ve managed to come up with a variety of delicious biscuits, cakes and other delectable treats.
I am particularly vulnerable to anything chocolaty so it is by no means surprising that I fell head over heels for Chocolate Caramel Squares. To put it simply, these treats are decedent – a layer of semi-sweet chocolate on top of a layer of gooey rich caramel on top of a layer of malty wheatmeal biscuits – what else could be more heavenly!
We have the unique fortune of owning a very talkative cat. She comments on EVERYTHING and her vocabulary is ever growing and we’re constantly amazed at the number of different meowing intonations she manages to comes up with. We do love her for it but there are times when we wish she would just hush up. These are just one of those rare moments of QUIET that she blesses us with and boy do we treasure them ….
I have at times been faced with a block in my creativity and end up feeling defeated. Thankfully, they are few and far between, but imagine for a moment, if we all woke up one day without any creative imagination, wouldn’t that be utterly devastating?
I had not realized until now how persistent squirrels can be. They are such determined little things and taken upon themselves the mission of searching and destroying the bulbs. Did I know that before planting my bulbs? Yes and no… I’ve heard that they would dig up and eat the bulbs but I had severely underestimated what lengths they would go to to do so. Within a few hours of finishing planting, they had covertly come out to investigate what I had done. I thought I did my best to cover my tracks but I guess it was not enough to deceive them. They had taken a few bulbs but thankfully most were still buried in place but I knew had to find a deterrent before they devastated my entire crop.
My husband had read somewhere that sprinkling cayenne pepper would help but we didn’t have enough in the pantry so that idea was quickly abandoned. I searched the internet for solutions but most were too tedious for me like the one where you had to put chicken wire on the ground. First of all, I would have to go buy the wire, then find something to hold it down, then figure out how to position it around my existing plants in the bed. Remember, I had decided to go down the bulb route for convince not added work!!
As I took on the scarecrow role in the garden, I got to thinking, what if I used my cat’s litter as mulch? The smell of cat urine would act like a repellent. LIGHT BULB! [Side note: I’ve switched my cat over to using pine pellets as litter and they are totally biodegradable and environmentally friendly but hopefully not squirrel friendly.]
The next day, I was able to by chance witness the effectiveness of my solution: the squirrel came over to check out the garden bed and all it took was two sniffs before he hopped off in search of something else that smelled better. HURRAY, [ME : 1 SQURRREL : 0]!!