Amazing Cut-Out Butter Cookies

 

How long do you think it took me to start baking cut out cookies from the day I bought a couple of sets of beautiful cookie cutter shapes? Two years. Is this normal, or is it just me, looking at them every time I open the drawer and thinking that one day, I will use them for something?
But procrastination aside, there are some amazing recipes out there for perfect cut out cookies and this is one of them. They have the perfect sweetness, brightened with a little addition of salt and even though the edges keep shape, the cookies are still soft and delicious inside.
You can ice them, put sprinkles on them and make them look really colourful but they are perfectly delicious without any icing.

This cookie dough requires chilling for one hour or freezing for 30 minutes. If you want your cookies to keep shape, don’t skip this step.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup or 340g softened butter
1 1/2 cup of sugar
2 room temperature eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 t almond aroma (optional but it does make them irresistible)
4 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge and wait for them to become room temperature.
In a bowl, using a mixer or some elbow grease beat the butter until it becomes creamy. Slowly add the eggs and sugar and keep mixing so that the mixture is smooth.
Add the vanilla extract and almond aroma if using.
With a spatula, mix in the flour, salt and baking powder.

Roll the dough out on a piece of baking paper, cut the cookies out, take away the excess dough and roll more out on a new piece of baking paper. Continue until you have used up all of the dough. Stack the cookies on baking paper in layers, cover the last one with one more piece of baking paper and freeze for 30 minutes or chill in the fridge for an hour.
You can chill the dough in the fridge for the night, if you need to or you can freeze the cookies, or just a dough ball for later use.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Bake each sheet with cookies for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

butter cookies 2

Focaccia

This recipe is just the answer to your prayers about focaccia. It’s an opportunity to stick your fingers in the dough to make holes. It’s the delicious, aromatic bread to stuff your face with. It’s everything you ever wanted!

I made this for my boss who ate like a tonne of it straight away. I had to make more.

So, yeah. I recommend it truly and honestly. Don’t be afraid of the mighty focaccia.

This beauty takes its sweet time rising. But what else would we be doing in life? Isn’t being the slave and invested carer of this delicious bread the best fate we can really achieve?

foca2

Ingredients for the dough:

 

3 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp dry yeast

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp fine salt

1 3/4 cup warm water

2 sundried tomatoes

 

Ingredients for the oil:

 

1/2 cup olive oil

2 minced cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 oregano

coarse salt

foca1

 

Mix the dough ingredients with a spoon until combined. The dough will be sticky like hell, so just mix with a spoon and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for 1 hour.

In the meantime combine all the ingredients of your oil, except the salt. If you have any of the herbs fresh, go for it, mince them and use. If you only have dried herbs, use those. Fresh is always better but I rarely have all these plants around the house. One or two at most…

After 1 hour spread baking paper on a baking tray. Gently press the air out of the dough and tip it over on the baking paper. Spread it more or less evenly on the tray. Don’t roll it or handle it too much. This dough is like a cat, too independent to accept cuddles. Cover with plastic wrap again and leave for 15 minutes.

foca4

Make holes in the dough using your fingers. It’s a good idea to dip your fingers in the oil you prepared to avoid the dough sticking to your fingers.

Leave under wrap for another hour to rise.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Cover the focaccia with the oil mixture. Follow with coarse salt.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes – until golden brown on top.

 

Devour!

foca6

Have it with mozzarella maybe, some sliced cucumber, tomato, some delicious leaves like rocket/arugula. Have it with parma ham, with olives, with whatever tickles your fancy.

It freezes well. You can microwave it, but do always put a little container/glass of water in the microwave with it so it doesn’t dry out. And don’t microwave for very long.

 

© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Slow Cooker Star Anise Apple Butter

This butter is a delicious and a little fancy way to use your apples. I always make a lot of standard applesauce with the apple harvest around this time of the year but it’s good to make a small batch of something special and different. This butter has a complex flavour and smell and it gives your taste buds something to experience when eaten spread on bread. I usually pair it with some fresh fruit on the side but I have also tried it with a slice of cheese on top and as weird as this sounds, it was still very enjoyable.

anise butter

 

Ingredients:

7 standard, supermarket size apples

2 whole stars anise

1/4 tsp dried ginger

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/2 cup sugar

7 dried apricots

2 Tbsp lemon juice

anise butter

First core and chop apples into small cubes. I don’t peel them.

Place apples in the slow cooker, chop the apricots finely, which is annoying because they are small and stick to the knife but you’ll manage (I did).

Add apricots and all of the spices, lemon juice as well as sugar. Stir to distribute the spices evenly.

Cook on high for 5 hours.

anise butter

Once cooked, take the two stars anise out and use an immersion (stick) blender to process the mixture into a pulp.

Next, put it back on to cook before you start canning, just to make sure that you are canning very hot butter, straight from the cooker.

With canning, I use hot jars, which I kept in an oven preheated to 100C/212F for at least 10 minutes (sometimes longer if I forget that they are there). I also give the lids a bath in hot water from the kettle.

I pick them out one by one and fill with the hot butter, leaving  a little bit of space on top. I close them immediately and set on the counter to let them cool to room temperature over the next couple of hours.

anise butter

Soon you should hear the lids popping as they are sealing. If any of them doesn’t seal and the lid is not concave, treat it as open, keep in the fridge and use within a couple of days.

I have been canning fruit this way for a while and I haven’t had any issues but if you look online there is a myriad of ways to do it and some ways are safer than this one, as they carry less risk of some bacteria surviving in the jar. Pick your own method and be safe!

anise butter

 

© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blueberry Leather Fruit Roll-Ups

This recipe is just in time for blueberry season. If you’re like me, you will be coming home with a bucket or two of blueberries and making jams for the cold winter months. This is one way to do something different with your blueberries. The fruit leather is a rubbery, yummy snack that reminds me a little bit of chewing gum or maybe wine gums. Needless to say, I’m a fan and I hope you will become one too.

blue leather

 

Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries

1 Tbsp applesauce

2 Tbsp strawberry jam or fresh strawberries blended

1/2 cup powdered sugar or more to taste

blue leather

 

Blend your fruit in a food processor together with sugar.

Push the mixture through a sieve to make sure you achieve as much of a smooth texture as possible.

blue leather

I actually took what was left in the sieve and blended it again in the food processor and then pushed through a sieve again.

blue leather

I ended up with 3 Tablespoons of seeds etc.

Spread the fruit on a baking sheet, you’ll need a large baking tray for this.

blue leather

Put in the oven and set for 50C/120F. This is the lowest my oven will go.

blue leather

Dry like that for 12 hours or until the leather does not stain your finger anymore and it appears dry.

blue leather

The leather should behave a bit like rubber and should be easy to peel off the paper.

blue leather

Cut in strips and roll up. I roll them up together with the paper and each person peels it off the paper as they eat.

These are great for lunchboxes, kids parties or as a healthy snack.

I keep mine in the fridge until they are gone which is never longer than 2 weeks so I can’t tell you how long they would keep otherwise. 🙂

blue leather

blue leather

 

 

 

© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce Preserve

Now that the summer is in full swing beautiful vegetables like peppers, aubergines and courgettes are in season. They won’t stay that way forever but you can preserve their summer goodness in jars and keep it for these winter months. Of course you can just preserve vegetables on their own but you can also save yourself cooking time later by producing a delightful sweet and sour sauce and use it on rice or rice and chicken in the winter.

peppers

Ingredients:

5 bell peppers

3 courgettes

1 small aubergine

1 onion

1 cup tomato puree

1 Tbsp dried oregano

2 Tbsp dried paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp salt

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

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Cube the vegetables into small 1cm pieces. Place in a bowl, add salt, stir and set in the fridge overnight.

 

On the next day put the vegetables in a colander or sieve and let the juices drain. You will not be using the juices.

Place the vegetables in a pot and start cooking them. Cook for 20 minutes and in the meantime put sugar, water and vinegar in a separate pot, stir and heat until sugar has dissolved.

Add all the spices and tomato puree to the veggies, follow with the vinegar mixture. Mix everything and let it continue to cook while you’re prepping the jars.

peppers and courgette

Preheat your oven to 100C/210F and put four 0.5l/pint jars in the oven without lids for 10 minutes. I cannot guarantee that this mixture will yield exactly 2l/4pints so it might be a good idea to add another, smaller jar or be prepared to eat the remaining sauce within the next couple of days. Take the lids, place in a bowl and cover them with hot water from the kettle.

I use jars that I have kept after pickles, jams etc., and I don’t own any fancy canning equipment so this recipe is not calling for any.

When the jars are ready take them out and using kitchen mittens spoon the boiling hot sauce into hot jars and tightly close the lids.

Place the jars on the counter. In an hour or so you will hear popping sounds as the lids will start sealing. All of them should be sealed and you can check by pressing on the middle of the lid to see if it is concave.

courgettes

You can keep sealed jars in the pantry until you’re ready to eat the sauce in the autumn or winter.

 

 

And smile because you’re done and you have some delicious food for the cold months! 😀

portrait

 

© Julia Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Refreshing Peppermint Chocolates

This is so simple that it’s not even a recipe really but I’m still posting it because it’s a delicious way to have some chocolate in the middle of the summer. The peppermint is refreshing and you have to keep these little chocolates in the fridge, so it’s a nice, peppermint experience.

mint chocolates

Ingredients:

200g/7ounces white chocolate

a couple of pieces of dark chocolate

3 drops of peppermint oil

green food dye (optional)

mint chocolates

Divide the chocolate into two portions, one with dark chocolate.

Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute until melted but not scorched.

Add the peppermint oil and food dye to the portion without dark chocolate and mix.

Fill little molds with a mixture of the two chocolates and refrigerate until the chocolates are hard and easy to pop out of the molds.

mint chocolates

 

© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Homemade Buttermints

These are delicious mint candies that are hard on the outside but melt in your mouth. They can be given as a gift or devoured at home. Either way they are addictive. They have a very nice old-fashioned feel to them and contain no weird ingredients.

Be careful with the peppermint oil. I used 6 drops of mine but it’s a good idea to use three or four first and check the flavour. The peppermint oil is extremely strong.

This is quite a big recipe. I managed to make 200 candies out of it and filled 5 jars. All worth it though as I can’t stop eating them!

buttermints

Ingredients:

3/4 cup softened unsalted butter

1/2 tsp salt

6 cups icing sugar

3 Tbsp milk

6 drops peppermint oil

food colouring (optional)

 

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until light and fluffy. Once that happens, add salt, peppermint oil and food colouring if you’d like the candies to have a very smooth colour. If you prefer them streaky, add the food colouring at the end and knead it in by hand.

buttermints

Next add icing sugar in portions and follow with milk.

Keep beating until the mixture is a uniform powder which packs immediately when you touch it.

buttermints

Remove the bowl from the mixer and form the dough into long ‘logs’ with your hands.

Cut with the pizza cutter or knife to form little pillow shapes.

You can go ahead and press each one with a fork for an easy decoration but as you can see I skipped this step.

buttermints

Very important: leave the mints out in room temperature overnight, so that they dry on the outside and become harder.

Enjoy!

buttermints

 

 

© Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli, 2014-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, recipes and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia M Wlodarczyk and Tattoo My Broccoli with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.