Yuletide Cookies

Ok, so I started this blog because I was doing so much baking on my days off and wanted to write about it. So I set the thing up, buy a domain name, install all the widgets and fiddle with the settings, ready to go. Problem is since then I’ve seem to have spent all my free time making chutneys instead of baking. Not that I don’t like making chutney, I even like the vinegar smell that permeats the house for days after. In fact it’s opened my eyes to the whole world of  preserving, one that I’d been blind to before, I now worry that I’ll have to stop myself from turning everything I find to a relish or marmalade. Anyway it doesn’t give baking blogger much to blog about so I’m retrieving a recipe from a few weeks back.

It was still light at 4 o’clock, the house didn’t smell like pine, the Christmas season was still a little way off and I had an urge to bake cookies.  Little did I know on that November day that I would stumble upon something so evocative of Christmas. I’d been reading Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt’s lovely book Tartine and this recipe evolved out of their orange-oatmeal-currant cookies. My take is admittedly very similar but with, I think, a far more British choice of ingredients. I mean who in the UK ever used light corn syrup in anything? So armed with one green and one crimson tin of Lyle’s I ended up with these delicious little treats.

It must be the combination of the mixed spice with the orange and the fruit that gives these soft, chewy cookies such a Christmasy taste. Perfect sat in front of the tree with a cup of tea (or even better a glass of mulled wine). This batch makes about 12 big 4 inch cookies and because of the oats they will last, sealed, for about 2 weeks (not that they’ll last that long, my house mates devoured them all in a couple of days). The currants are soaked in tea in this recipe to give them a nice plumpness; I used one I happened to have that really goes well with the other flavours of the cookie. It’s a black leaf tea blended with orange peel and cloves, think mulled wine flavours in a tea, it goes really well but any black tea would do. If you’re making your own Christmas cake these would also work really well with the boozy soaked fruits that go into that :p

yuletide cookies

Makes 12 large 4 inch cookies

Currants      100g

Winter tea/Yule tea/black tea

Plain flour      145g

Bicarbonate of soda      1/4 tsp

Ground mixed spice      3/4 tsp

Unsalted butter, softened      112g

Golden caster sugar     125g

1 large egg

Vanilla extract      1/2 tsp

Golden syrup      1 heaped tbsp

Treacle      1/2 tbsp

Salt      1/4 tsp

Zest of 1 large orange

Porrige oats       75g

Begin by brewing a good strong cup of tea and combine it with the currants in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for about 20 minutes to half an hour until the fruit is plump and juicy. Then drain well and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 170ºC and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Sift together the salt, mixed spice, bicarb and flour and set that to one side also.

Now beat together the caster sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy and has taken on a slightly paler colour. Then beat in the egg, golden syrup, treacle and orange zest until combined. Stir in the flour mixture along with the currants and oats to form a soft dough.

Once you have your dough take about a dessert spoon amount and roll it into a ball. Repeat until all the dough have been rolled and place the balls onto the lined baking trays. They should be a good 2-3 inches apart because they will spread quite a bit in the oven.

Bake for around 10-12 minutes until the centres have lost that wet sheen of the raw dough but before the edges start to go a dark brown. They will still be very soft but they will be cooked. Let them cool on the trays to set before moving them to a wire rack to fully cool.

These really are delicious and I think actually better on the second or third day after the oats have absorbed a little moisture and soften a bit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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Welcome!

Hello internet and welcome to Baker’s Day Off!

My name is Alex and this my new blog about all the different things I make on days off. I thought I’d kick things off with a little bit about me (for more you can read my About Me page). I love baking, I’m an artisan baker in London so spend most of my nights baking real bread. Even though I love making bread I rarely feel compelled to bake it at home; that doesn’t stop me however from baking everything else! A lot of people think it’s mad for a baker to want to bake on their days off but never mind, no cake for them. This blog is going to be a journey through all the cake, tart, biscuit and meringue adventures (or ordeals) that I put myself through in my spare time.

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