New Year Baking

A few years ago, when I was given a recipe book for Christmas, I decided that I would start each new year with baking something new.  I have a tendency to stick to the same recipes, which is fine as these recipes are good, but I do have a lot of recipe books and I ought to try to work my way through some of them!

Last Christmas, or possibly even my birthday last year (a while ago, anyway!) my mum bought me these smiley face cookie cutters from Lakeland.

They've been hidden in the back of a cupboard, and when I found them whilst looking for the Christmas-themed cookie cutters I made a mental note to use them soon.

I used a basic biscuit recipe:

150g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 egg
150g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

Cream together the sugar and butter, then stir in the egg, vanilla essence and salt.  Add flour, then bring it all together in a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a surface with quite a bit of flour, then cut out.  They're quite fiddly (especially the star and the flower) and I had to use a cake tester to poke out the eyes and mouth.  They also got distorted quite easily, so I did a bit of prodding to try and get them back into shape.  I then baked them for about 10 mins at 180C (gm4).

After they had cooled completely I added a thin layer of buttercream and topped that with a thin layer of jam, then added the corresponding top biscuit.  The stars and flowers weren't the same on both halves, so they don't align perfectly, but I think that adds to the charm!  The mixture made about 12 complete biscuits.

Whilst the dough was chilling in the fridge, and as I had to make buttercream icing anyway, I decided to make a sponge cake to take with us when we go and visit my boyfriend's parents.  This Christmas I received quite a few presents from my Brownies (and their parents!) including this jar of homemade strawberry jam.  As I'm not really a jam sort of person, putting it in a cake is, for me, the best way to use it.  I had 340g of jam, and the buttercream was 100g unsalted butter and 140g icing sugar, this was enough for the cake filling and for all the biscuits, with just a few spoonfuls of each left over.

Sometimes, the simplest cakes are the best cakes.  I'll sprinkle some icing sugar over it before we leave to go visiting.

Right, so that's one recipe ticked off my list!  What's next?


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