Raw Gingerbread Balls

Raw Gingerbread Balls

Hello Everyone! 2016 is coming to a close real soon and I would just like to take this opportunity to be thankful for what the past year has brought, not only for me, but for my family and my friends as well. Inevitably, life if not always perfect, it has its ups and downs, and for all the times where I felt down or put down but others, I can only say that – as cliché as this sounds – it has made me become a stronger person. I have been thrown under the bus countless of times by people around me and have had people say bad things about me behind my back – to all these people, you can go shove it where the sun don’t shine. You’ve made me realise how easy it can be for me to just shut you out because I don’t need that kind of toxicity in my life. Arrivederci.

Well, that escalated quickly haha! From being thankful to talking about the poisonous people is my life. Anyway, this will be the last recipe that I will be sharing on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year 2016. I hope that all my family, friends, and followers have had a good read and have cooked up a storm in their own kitchens with my recipes. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #amcarmensrecipes when you create a dish from my blog so I can share them on all my social media mediums. I will be back in February with a whole new concept to my recipes so please stay tuned! Yes, I will be taking a break in January as I have quite a full plate with work for the month and I might be able to spend time in the kitchen. I will also be planning content for Amcarmen’s Kitchen during my time off to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the upcoming year! Look out though for a post coming in mid-January as an introduction and hint to the recipes ahead for 2017!

Since Christmas passed not to long ago, I decided whip up these tasty raw vegan gingerbread balls as part of my ball-balls theme for December to keep with the Christmas-spirit.The only slight change I made to this recipe was replacing the buckwheat groats with more almonds just because I have no clue where to find buckwheat groats here in Brunei! Before we jump into the recipe for tonight, please check out the original recipe from Amanda over on Rawmanda.

Raw Gingerbread Balls Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 15 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/4 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats*
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Optional

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

*If you’re like me and can’t seem to find buckwheat groats at your local grocers, you can substitute 1/4 cup of buckwheat groats for 3 tablespoons of almond flour. Alternatively, for nut-free balls, you can substitute 1/4 cup of almond meal for 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of buckwheat groats.

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the coconut sugar and dates in a high-speed blender or food processor until you get a flour-like consistency from the ingredients.
  2. Add half of the dates into the blender/food processor and pulse until well combined. Then add in the remaining dates until you have a uniform dough formed.
  3. Scoop the dough out of the blender/food processor, at about a tablespoon in size, and roll it into a ball (or flatten with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to make desired shapes). Repeat for the remaining dough. Optional: Roll the balls into coconut sugar or sprinkle on top of cookies.
  4. Share and enjoy as a light snack. Store the gingerbread balls or cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for a 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for a week.

Raw Gingerbread Balls

BON APPÉTIT
– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Advertisements
Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

Hello Everyone! So today’s recipe was inspired by a video I watched on YouTube from one of my favourite channels SORTED Food. This recipe is by far one of my new Christmas favourites and spot on because this year for Christmas planned on decorating our Christmas Tree with food items! We strung some popcorn and wrapping them around our tree. We have candy canes, Ferrero Rochers, Lindt chocolate, and sugar cookie wreaths lined up as our ornaments:

Edible Christmas Tree

I actually completely forgot about this recipe for Stained Glass Cookies until the night before Jialing and I had planned to make the cookies. It’s a good thing that we picked up the Turkey I preordered yesterday which meant that I could also pick up some boiled candy for this recipe! But I mean, does Australia have something against boiled sweets? Or did they just sell out or something? I swear I could not find any form of boiled sweets at the local supermarkets other than soothers or lozenges. Lucky for me that Woolies stocked their own home brand fruity sweets. But even so, the bag of candy only had 4 green sweets and half of the bag was filled with yellow sweets. So I ended up crushing some of the yellow with the green and added a few drops of green food colouring to it.

Initially I had planned to make my gingerbread cookies again for the tree, and since I have all the ingredients ready for some gingerbread making, I decided to do a little twist on their recipe and make Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies. Do check out the original recipe on their main channel: Stained Glass Cookie Decorations, or if you want to see a step-by-step write-up version of the recipe, check it out on their website: SORTED Food.

Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

The first batch of cookies turned out to be a massive fail that they only deserved a before picture. Can’t even bare the look of the result after. Lesson learned? Don’t bake these stained glass cookies with raising agents in them – just don’t. I think you may have a picture in your head how these first batch of cookies turned out:

Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 12 MINS | MAKES 2 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain flour (plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed)
  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp ground dry ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Boiled Sweets (Hard Candy)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Add the unsalted butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at medium-high speed until smooth; about 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Whisk to blend and then set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, molasses (or honey), and lemon juice.
  3. When the butter and sugar mixture is smooth, lower the speed of the mixer and add the wet ingredients. Then gently fold the dry ingredients until a dough starts to form.
  4. Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap each half with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
  5. Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut out your desired cookie shapes. Cut another shape out of the centre of each cookie and transfer the cookies to a lined baking tray.
  6. Chop up some boiled fruit sweets with a knife or by bashing them with a rolling pin whilst still in their wrappers, keeping the different colours separate. Sprinkle the chopped sweets into the hole in the centre of the cookies and bake them for 12 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool until completely cold before removing them from the lined baking tray. Ice them however you wish and thread a ribbon through the hole to hang your decorations. For these cookies, I made a simple vanilla icing to decorate with and edible silver balls.

Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

Hope everyone had a merry festive Christmas!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Hello Everyone! I apologise in advance for not posting yesterday as scheduled. Long story short, I didn’t write my post yesterday (I have my reasons) and I just wanted to go to bed when I got home from a work event yesterday. Anyway, if you read my last post on the Gingerbread Muffins, you would’ve know what tonight’s recipe will be about. I wanted to do something nice for my colleagues in the office for my last week before the Christmas/New Year holidays, so I decided to bake batches of Gingerbread Cookies. Actually these cookies inspired me to try out and bake Gingerbread Muffins on Monday to stick to the festive theme. I packed them into little plastic bags and tied them up with Christmas tags that I bought from the Christmas Markets at The Grounds of Alexandria.

Gingerbread Cookies

I think, if not all, most of them loved my cookies. My boss had the best reaction hands down when he saw his bag of goodies on his desk when he came into work; he let out what seemed like a squeal of excitement. I also managed to change my manager’s view on gingerbread – she normally doesn’t like gingerbread, but mine were an exception. I genuinely believe that she wasn’t just saying that because I was there; she apparently went on for about 5 minutes about the cookies to her sister. Also, one of the interns didn’t come in at all so he didn’t get his bag of goodies, so the other manager said that he was tempted to just open his bag for more. Towards the end of the day I saw the bag closer to his desk and opened. Yesterday I asked him if he ate all of the other intern’s cookies, and he said he gave some to his housemates!

Some of my cookies ended up on Instagram as well:

Gingerbread Cookies on Instagram

Like the little gingerbread men that was featured on Tuesday’s post, I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil, which meant that each time I pressed it on the rolled out dough, it would slightly deform. I would then reshape it, but that meant that I had men that differed in shape – some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but to quote Jialing (as well as from the previous post), “everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate!” Also, a special thanks and shoutout to my main girl Jialing for decorating my cookies while I frantically tried to do some many things at once in the kitchen. They look absolutely stunning!

Before I move onto the recipe, please do visit the site where I originally got the recipe from: Food Network. As usual, I used slightly different ingredients only because some I didn’t have on me – or I wasn’t up for buying let’s say a bottle worth $30+ of orange liqueur when I only needed half a teaspoon of it. Making my own orange liqueur crossed my mind, but then I only thought of a week before making these cookies. I still wanted to add a hint of booze to my frosting though, so I ended up getting a tiny bottle of vodka for this. Again, I didn’t want to buy a big bottle of vodka because I don’t drink vodka. If you are making these for the little ones, just remember to exclude the vodka from the frosting!

Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | MAKES 3 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS

For the gingerbread dough

  • 4 cups plain flour (plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed)
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 large navel orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 & 2/3 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 1/4 cup milk*
  • 1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the easy orange frosting

  • 1 cup soft icing sugar
  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp vodka (optional)

*I don’t know what I did wrong but when I was rolling out my dough after I had chilled it in the fridge for about 15-20minutes, my dough it felt a bit dry and crumbly. I fixed it by adding some milk and putting it back into the fridge before rolling it out again. It seemed to have worked this way! I’m not sure if I did something wrong or just looking at the recipe, maybe the ratio between dry and wet was a bit out of proportion.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Add the unsalted butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl and beat using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at medium-high speed until smooth; about 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Whisk to blend and then set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses (or honey), and lemon juice.
  3. When the butter and sugar mixture is smooth, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Then add the egg mixture until well blended. At this point, if you feel your mixture is too dry or crumbly, add the milk in.
  4. Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap each half with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
  5. Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Got scraps? Form the scraps into a ball, press it flat and chill in the refrigerator. These cookies may be a little more “tough” because the dough will have been worked a little more than the others.
  6. Transfer the cut out cookies to a tray lined with baking paper. Leave room between the cookies as they can spread a little. You’ll end up having to bake them it batches depending on the size of your cookies and how many can fit into a single baking tray. Bake until brown around the edges; about 8 to 10 minutes. While your first half of your batch of dough is cut and baking/waiting to bake, work on your second half of cookie dough. Once your cookies are done, set them aside to cool down and get started on making your easy orange frosting.
  7. Easy Orange Frosting: In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk together to combine. If the consistency is too thick, add a touch more orange juice (or vodka if you prefer) to thin it out. Transfer the frosting into a party bag (or if you are like me and don’t have one, you can use a zip lock bag and cut a hold at the tip, OR even use a ketchup bottle as you will see in one of the photographs below).
  8. Work on and decorate the batch of cookies that went into the oven first as these would have had enough time to cool down before the others. The work your way through the batches of cookies.

I guess, if you want it to look more festive you can go with green/red decorations but our local Coles only had blue or pink. Of course, cookies are best served fresh but you can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Hello Everyone! Another Muffin Making Monday recipe post for all of you tonight, and why not bake these not so little, but cute muffins for the kids or maybe even the adults this holiday season? Just remember to exclude that hint of vodka in the orange frosting when serving it up for the little ones! These muffins are moist and packed with a spicy sweet gingerbread flavour with that touch of citrusy goodness; not to mention they also create a beautiful gingery aroma in the kitchen. As usual with all my baking adventures, I always look to Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her recipes are straight forward, easy to follow, and really require minimal work in the kitchen (as far as I know from the recipes I’ve tried). I also always try to tweak the recipe myself, which I have definitely done here to make these muffins a little more special for this festive season.

Besides tonight’s muffin post, I also baked gingerbread cookies yesterday to bring in and share amongst my workmates. The recipe for these gingerbread cookies will be up on Thursday’s post. From the dough I had,  I made little gingerbread men to stuff into my muffins. I also topped the muffins with leftover orange frosting. I shall call these Hot Tub Gingerbread Muffins! I actually got this idea from the front cover of the December issue of Coles Magazine. The featured cupcakes were topped with frosting and little gingerbread man cookies. I pre-baked the little gingerbread men before baking my muffins, and my plan was to stuff the muffins with the men while the tops were still moist before completely cooked. But forgetting that I wanted to do that, Jialing had already frosted and decorated my little men, and putting them into the oven would basically just melt the frosting off. Also it meant that the gingerbread men would potentially over bake in the oven. So what I did was once the muffins were ready and slightly cooled, I cut a slit in the muffins and inserted the little men. They were a bit large for the muffins, so I ended up amputating their legs just so they would fit snuggly. I remember when I brought a muffin into work today, one of the managers noticed that his legs were missing and asked where his legs went. I told her the sad story.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I also by the way, did not have any cookie cutters for these, instead I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil following this tutorial on wikiHow. I mean, it wasn’t ideal for the foil kept reshaping itself every time I pressed down on it to cut out my cookies, so as you can see from the image above, some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but as Jialing said, everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate! And of course, being such a professional baker (sarcasm intended), I don’t even own a rolling pin – but who says a bottle of Jack can’t fix the problem and stand in as a makeshift rolling pin?

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I went ingredient shopping two days before making these muffins, and unfortunately I could not get a hold of molasses which gives the muffins their deep brown colour and rich flavour. I wasn’t able to look at another grocery store on the Sunday because I had my own little adventure kayaking over the Sydney Harbour, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. So I settled with using honey for this recipe, which is one of the various substitutes for molasses. Also, you may notice that the batter is quite thick. Very, very thick. It may make you wonder if you’ve done anything wrong, or if the proportions of this recipe is right. Well, you didn’t do anything wrong, and neither is the recipe wrong. A thick batter helps make a muffin have that beautiful high dome top. So do expect a thick (and lumpy) batter and you’ll be happy with the results of your muffins! In addition, no need to take out your electric mixer for this, because I always dread having to dig for it at the back of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards.

Also, just a quick note incase you missed it, the recipe for the gingerbread men will be posted on Thursday – as well as the orange frosting since that came with the gingerbread recipe, so stay tuned for that! Tonight will just be on the Gingerbread Muffins.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large free rage egg
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Add the honey and unsalted butter together in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for about 1 minute in the microwave. Stir until thoroughly mixed together. Set aside. In third bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and milk.
  3. Pour the mixture into the into the honey and butter mixture and whisk until everything is incorporated. Then pour the wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined, careful to not over mix the batter which will be very thick and lumpy.
  4. Fill your muffin cups tins to the very top and bake for about 5 minutes at 220C. Baking them at a higher temperature right at the beginning will help create a burst of steam inside the muffin and rapidly lift the tops. Then reduce the temperature down to 190C and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes. Muffins are finished when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Once done, remove the muffins from the oven and set aside to cool down for a bit. Cut slits into your muffins and insert a gingerbread man in each. Top with a drizzle of orange frosting. Serve!

Muffins taste best eaten the same day, and can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com