cookies

Sables Maison – or homemade shortbread, French style

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As some of you may (or may not) have noticed, I’ve been a bit remiss in posting regularly lately. This month has been very busy as TC and I have met new people and have been out doing a lot of cycling – more posts on our two-wheeled activities to come, I promise. My mobile phone is also completely out of action at the moment which is seriously hampering the amount of pictures I’ve been able to take while out cycling. That will teach me for thinking that 3€ battery I bought online was good value!

One thing I did do while waiting for the spring weather to arrive was to put one of my Christmas presents to good use. I made savoury sage and walnut shortbread cookies from my “Sables Maison” cookbook.  IMG_3914

The main difference with these cookies than anything I’ve done before is the complete lack of sugar.Well actually, as you may have noticed, the MAIN difference was that the recipe was entirely in French – forcing me to practice (and thankfully I only needed to look up a few words).

Back to the sugar – I was a little puzzled at this as I have never made savoury shortbreads before, but I pressed on regardless. I shelled and chopped fresh walnuts, rubbed the butter into the flour and then mixed in all the other dry ingredients rosemary cookies 6

added the egg, worked the dough until smooth and then rolled it out between parchment sheets.IMG_3925

Next it was time to rest the dough in the fridge for an hour, before cutting out and pressing with my super cute Parisian cookie press rosemary cookies 4  IMG_3928

… and baking in the new oven. Since I’ve become something of an expert at overcooking (one might even say slightly burning) many baked things, this time I took the care to time the baking properly. I also kept the oven at a slightly lower temperature than the instructions indicated (only by 5C) because I know this oven is a little hot.  rosemary cookies 5

Once cooked and cooled, TC and I enjoyed them with tea…. rosemary cookies 2

The verdict? Hmm… TC seemed to really like them, but I did find them just a little bland due to the lack of sugar. The sage and walnut flavours worked very well together but for me there was definitely something lacking. As the book contains a selection of sweet and savoury recipes (sucrés et salés), I think the next one will have to be sweet!

Enjoy… rosemary cookies 7

Testing, testing….

We had a new oven installed this week – the old one died and we were completely sans oven for almost two weeks.

In the first two days with the new one, we’d already had two roast dinners. Of course this calls for a baking test too – first up: double choc chip cookies.

I had been watching Ina Garten on the Barefoot Contessa and saw her make these yummy double chocolate almond cookies with Kathleen King, so I decided to give them a bash. Except, because it was a late, spur-of-the-moment decision, I didn’t have almonds on hand so was going to substitute them with walnuts. Except, again, I then got impatient and wanted to get this mixture into the oven without taking the time to shell the walnuts!

So here are my double choc chip cookies, no almond. I also used only 1/3 of the original recipe (with the exception of the egg) because I didn’t want 52 cookies in the house!

Baking...

Baking…

Cooling...

Cooling…

Oven duly tested, it heats up quickly and runs a little hot. However, I think more testing is in order.

We have guests coming for dinner later this week and I am going to actually make a savoury dish. What a shock! TC usually does all that, but we have decided that we will do an entree, main, cheeseboard and then some small individual sweet pastries from the local patisserie to accompany coffee. That leaves me free to actually cook an entree while TC does the main.  I have chosen my dish and most of it can be made a day ahead… I’ll have to do a practice run early in the week too  I think. Stand by for that one.

Ready to enjoy

Ready to enjoy

Ahhhh, where’s my cup of tea…..

Bon appétit, à bientot!

Little things…

Parisien biscuit stamps TC and I gave each other small, novelty type gifts this year for two reasons – we didn’t want to spend too much money just because its “Christmas” and we also have to bear in mind how much stuff we are able to take back to Australia later next year (definitely not enough).

A couple of my gifts particularly made me smile. Just simple little things – a biscuit making set which includes recipes for traditional Parisien biscuits, sweet and savoury, complete with stamps to ensure they look the part,  a mini cupcake recipe book (shaped like a cupcake), and a lovely mug covered in colourful cats so that I can sit back with a nice cup of tea or a chocolat chaud and enjoy  the fruits of my forthcoming bake-fest. Bliss!

What did you get that made you smile this Christmas?   Cupcake recipe book Pussycat mug

’tis the season…

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for jolly shortbread – and of couse, walnuts!

I saw an idea similar to this a few weeks ago, so today I tried it… santa swirl shortbread with the addition of fresh walnuts, because the most delicious, fresh walnuts are available at all the markets & in the shops now. I’m always thinking of ways to use walnuts, so this was a good opportunity.

Using a basic shortbread recipe, I divided the mixture into two bowls, added a few drops of red colouring to one batch, then carried on as normal. Once both doughs were ready, I rolled them each out into a rectangle of roughly the same size, laid one on top of the other and rolled them up. Then I rolled the log in the chopped walnuts, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and refrigerated it until I was ready to bake.

Then it was just a matter of unwrapping, slicing, and baking. I forgot my oven here runs a little hot, so I should have either reduced the temp or taken them out of the oven a few minutes earlier – they were only JUST cooked more than I would have liked, not by much so all was good. Next time I must also remember to place them further apart on the tray – I ended up with some weirdly shaped shortbread biscuits.

Enjoy!       IMG_2344