Sunday, 4 December 2011

Recipe Swap: Crunchy Clementine Christmas Biscuits



What a week – I know that this is not the first time I have started a blog entry with this statement, but I do think my husband being taken into hospital with appendicitis warrants its repetition.   He is out now, in fact, he got out less than 24 hours after having his appendix removed.  He’s not allowed to lift which is challenging, particularly as the children don’t understand why he can’t pick them up for cuddles, and has to take it easy for four to six weeks – I will do my best to be a good nurse and caring wife, but I am sure he would testify that I am not the best at this sort of thing!  I will just have to cook him some yummy dinners to build up his strength!
There is, however, nothing like a medical emergency to help you get things into perspective and I am determined that we are going to have the best Christmas ever, especially as he should be well on the mend by then – yay! 
In order to keep my sanity this week and take my mind of its events, I was determined to get my entry for recipe swap done, particularly as Christianna has opened a new vintage cookbook for this monthThe Second Ford Treasury of Favourite Recipes From Famous Eating Places” and from it chose an American classic, the Toll House Cookie.  It was written in 1954, and features recipes from famous restaurants at the time, making it a fascinating vintage social register.    I love books like this, they are such an amazing insight into social history and I can’t wait to see what Christianna will pick each month.

From The Second Ford Treasury of Favourite Recipes From Famous Eating Placese
Anyway, to enter into the Christmas spirit, I thought I’d make some Christmas biscuits.  I had been thinking about what ingredients to use and inspired by a favourite seasonal cake Clementine Cake, I decided on Clementines.  A decision that was aided by the vast number of the tasty little citruses in my fruit bowl, part of my continued effort to encourage my girls with their fruit consumption!
I should note here, that as you have to cook the Clementine for two hours before using it, it could be a good idea to make it alongside the aforementioned cake, which you can find on page 75 of Nigella’s How to Eat. 
As it turns out, these biscuits are really tasty, full of festive spice and a background of seasonal Clementine!  As usual, I had some assistance from Elsa and Anna on this and we’ll definitely be making them again as decorations for our tree!  The smell when they are cooking is also amazing and sooooo Christmassy!

Ingredients
1 Clementine (place this in a pan and simmer, topping up with water, for approximately 2 hours – leave to cool, drain, remove seeds and  blend (skin and all)).
350g Plain Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

2 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
100g Butter or Margarine
200g Soft Brown Sugar
Method
Preheat your oven to 170 oC (150 oC fan).  Prepare your baking sheets (you’ll need a couple).
Sift the flour, salt, cocoa and spices into a large bowl and in another, cream together the sugar and butter and add the Clementine puree, beating well.  Add the flour gradually into the sugar and butter mixture until the dough forms a ball.
Wrap the dough in cling film or place in plastic bag  and pop into the fridge for a least half an hour (but up to overnight).
Cut the dough in half, and in order not to over-work it, roll one half out to approximately a ½cm between two sheets of floured baking parchment and cut out your shapes.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  I used my new star cutters, but you could easily use any Christmas shape, and remembering to make a hole for a ribbon at the top of each biscuit.

Bake for around 25 minutes.
I iced the cookies with simple glace icing (300g of sieved icing sugar with approximately 4 dessert spoons of boiling water), but obviously you could decorate in any festive way you see fit.
My little helpers!





19 comments:

  1. Beautiful! And the pictures of the kids helping are just too darling. Good luck to you all the next few weeks: challenge for both patient and caretaker, certainly. Especially this time of year! You deserve many cookies :)

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  2. Ugh, Claire! I wish your husband a speedy recovery! You and yours seem to have made the best of it - this is a beautiful post, and I'm so glad you were able to get into the kitchen with family! As always, I love seeing your posts in the Recipe Swap, thanks for participating and I can't wait to see your next post!

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  3. Oh my gosh Girl! Your last two posts have left me exhausted with a knot in my stomach with all you've been dealing with. AND you pulled off these gorgeous cookies?! Amazing. These really look like they should be hung on a xmas tree. The flavors sound beautiful with the intriguing use of the clemintine. Hope you are slumbering soundly dreaming of your lovely creation!

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  4. Wow what a crazy week you have had...and that is so wonderful you were still able to post such beautiful cookies! The cooked clementine idea is such a festive addition to the recipe!

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  5. Ah the life of a busy wife and momma - so rewarding yet so buys at times. Your cookies look amazing. I've never heard of baking with a whole clementine before, just orange zest etc. Great idea and sounds delicious.

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  6. You are either amazing or nuts...or maybe a bit of both dealing with something as serious as your hubs appendicitis. I know how it is something to escape to a place that is comforting - and results in a great treat! These are absolutely gorgeous. Well done!

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  7. Sorry to hear that your husband was in hospital! That's awful and scary. Your cookies, on the other hand, are really gorgeous. Amazing.

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  8. I hope your hubby recovers quickly. I had mine out in grade school, it burst when I was in grade 7. Not much fun, the recovery is tedious at best. I love how you took the situation and made something good come out of it by vowing to make Christmas special. That is remarkable, as is the fact that you made these during all this. It is such a festive and tasty recipe. I am intrigued by how you cooked the clementine. I have to try this out.

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  9. Thank you all for your lovely comments and kind wishes for my husb x!

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  10. Hi Claire- Hoping your hubby heals quickly. How wonderful of you to find the energy to bale these gorgeous cookies. The photo of the kids baking is precious:)

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  11. oooh! I want a cookie tree like this in my house! I can imagine how wonderful these smell baking, like you said. Cooking the clementine is an interesting technique. I'll give that a try next time I want to incorporate some citrus in a cookie or cake.
    I hope your husband feels better so he can cuddle your little ones again! They are so cute : )

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  12. it looks as though you had some beautiful helpers in your kitchen, and I can understand how they have a hard time understanding why daddy can't pick them up, but I'm sure he'll make an even speedier recovery knowing they're waiting for his attention!
    Your cookies look delicious and I love clementines, thanks for a wonderful entry in the swap!

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  13. Wow that tree looks great! And I can almost smell the delicious aroma of orange and cinnamon that must be in your home. I wish I was half as good at presenting cookies as you are...

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  14. Claire these look fantastic as well as sounding delicious! Well done you! I hope you are all feeling better, yourself included! What poor Col has to go through reminds me of when I had my c-section - no fun at all! Sending big hugs to all x

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  15. This looks amazing - I'm sure your girls would love it. So creative, excellent contribution to the swap. Merry Christmas!

    Shari from www.goodfoodweek.blogspot.com

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  16. Gosh, what a week! So sorry to hear about all of that, but glad your husband is recovering. And, the fact that you found the time to bake (and write! and post!) in the midst of all this is quite the feat. The cookies look/sound wonderful, thank you for sharing!

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  17. I am the only of three children that still has an appendix, but I remember making my siblings laugh when they were not supposed to (I thought it was funny to see them squirm:)
    Hats off to you for managing to finish this project with everything that has been happening! Your cookies look fantastic (cocoa and citrus is a winning combination:)
    I hope you are staying warm and I send you some of our Southern California sunshine:)

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  18. These cookies look so very pretty-- very Christmas-y! I hope your husband feels better soon. I'm sure your baking will help!

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  19. I hope your husband feels better soon - thanks for taking the time to bake these wonderful cookies in-between!

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