Anise and Fennelseed Cookies

These anise and fennel cookies aren't the most traditional christmas cookies I have baked so far, but they are one of the tastiest cookies I have baked so far. Delicate and crumbly, they are both sweet and salty. They are made with almond and spelt flour and packed with roasted fennel, anise seeds and some added sesame seeds that give an extra crunchy textures. 

Even though they aren't the most traditional christmas cookies they do make for a great last minute christmas gift or an after-dinner treat. Now it's one week to christmas, tomorrow is the 4th of advent. Tomorow I will bake some of my other favourite cookies, Speculoos, Lebkuchen and Cinnamon Stars, which I shared with you last year. 

 


Ingredients

  • 300g white spelt flour
  • 120g sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1tsp corse sea salt
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp anise seeds
  • 200g cold butter
  • 2 large egg yolks

 


Recipe

1. Mix together the flour, sugar, almonds and sea salt. 

2. In a small pan without any oil, toast the sesame, fennel and anise seeds for 2min. until you can smell the aroma. Be careful not to burn them. 

3. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub them into the flour-mix just until crumbly. Add the toasted fennel, anise and sesame.

4. Add the egg yolks to the dough and knead in until the dough just comes together and you have a smooth dough- do not overwork though. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 20-30min. 

5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C and get your cookies cutters ready. Unwrap the dough and on a floured surface roll out 5-8mm thin. 

6. Cut out the cookies, using your favourite cookie cutter. Roll out leftover dough and repeat until all the dough is used up. You can also use cookies stamps to make them look extra christmas-y :-)

7. Place the cookies on a tray lined with foil, cover with foil and put them in the freezer for 10min.

8.Place them on a tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle on some sugar, and bake for 18-20min. until golden. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before moving them onto a cooling rack. Keep them in a cookie jar or eat them right away :) 


Speculatius Cookies

Christmas is approaching closer. This year the 2nd Sunday of Advent and St. Nicholas Day fell on the same day which called for appropriate celebrations. As a kid we would put out our shoes on the eve of the 5th and go to bed with anticipation and excitement hitting the ceiling. The next morning we would find them brimful with cookies and sweets and tangerines. And they always contained speculatius cookies. 

Growing up in Belgium, Speculaas was part of my Christmas season palate. I remember that during christmas season, you would even get a speculaas with every purchase at the supermarket. 

And you know how formative these early childhood years are - so you can imagine my excitement when I came across an old wooden speculatius mould on the flea market. Before thinking about how to even use this kind of mould I had already bought it and started collecting speculatius recipes off the web. After a couple of attempts I finally composed a recipe which dignifies my childhood memories and yet doesn't contain massive amounts of sugar. 

Ingredients

  • 90g coconut oil
  • 80g coconut blossom sugar
  • 2 tsp speculatius spice*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp oat milk 

* You can easily make this yourself: mix together 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp orange peel, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp anise seeds, 1/8 tsp mace and 1/4 tsp cardamom (you don't need to be too accurate about the amounts, my spice mix always turns out a little different every year. Just adjust to your own taste and liking)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the coconut oil and mix with the sugar and spices. 

2. In a big bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. 

3. With your hands, work together the coconut oil-sugar mix with the dry ingredients. The texture will be a little bit crumbly at this point. 

4. In order to make a soft dough, add the oat milk, 1 tbsp at a time. The dough shouldn't get sticky (if it does just add a little bit of flour again). 

5. Wrap the dough in cling foil and rest in the fridge for about 1 hour. Cause of the coconut oil the dough will be quite firm. Take out and wait 15 minutes before proceeding.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough (5mm thin) and cut out your cookies. For this you can use cookie cutters or even simply a knife or if you by any chance get a hold of an old speculatius mould, use that! I have worked out a system by which I roll the dough onto the mould, peel it off and cut off any surplus dough. But to be honest I don't know whether that's the most effective way of doing it. 

7. Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes. Let them rest on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours and store in an airtight container. 

These cookies make a wonderful gift to your friends and loved ones for christmas - if you can refrain from eating them all up yourself. 


Lebkuchen & Cinnamon Hearts

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. My favourite time of the year starts now. The smell of cinnamon, star anis, cloves and oranges. Having an excuse to bake tons of cookies. And also having an excuse to eat tons of cookies I guess. I don't need to say more.

For starters I wanna share with you two of my favourite, and very classic christmas cookie recipes: Lebkuchen and Cinnamon Stars which in my case turned out be hearts, as I don't have any star-shaped cutters (note to self: Perfect excuse to go shopping for new cutters). 

Lebkuchen

makes 50
prep time: 90min.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp salts of hartshorn (ammonium carbonate)*
  • 400 g coconut blossom or muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 125 g honey
  • 100 g candied lemon peel
  • 100 g candied orange peel
  • 350 g white spelt flour 
  • 200 g ground hazelnuts
  • 250 ground almonds
  • 2 tsp Lebkuchen spice**
  • 50 baking wafers (70mm) 

    for the glaze
  • 150g dark chocolate for coating 
  • 150g icing sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

* If you can't get a bold of this, you can also use baking powder
** contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, anis, allspice, coriander, ginger, cardamom

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Mix the salts of hartshorn with 1 tbsp lukewarm water and set aside. Mix the sugar with the eggs, egg whites and using an electric mixer whisk until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. 

2. Add the lemon zest, honey, candied lemon and orange peel and hartshorn salt and fold everything into the mixture.

3. In another bowl mix together the flour, hazelnuts, almonds and lebkuchen spice. Now gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter, making sure everything is well incorporated. 

4. Using two spoons scoop 1 tbsp if batter each on a wafer and place on a lined baking tray. 

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool down to room temperature. 

6. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Mix together the icing sugar with the juice of the lemon (should be quite a thick paste, if need be, add more icing sugar). Coat half the lebkuchen with chocolate and the other half with the lemon glaze. Let the glaze solidify. If you can refrain from eating them all right up, they should keep up to two weeks in an airtight container. 


Cinnamon Hearts (gluten-free)

makes 50
prep time: 50min. (+ 2 hours resting)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground coffee
  • 390 g ground almonds

Instructions

1. Beat the egg whites until you get stiff peaks. Sieve the icing sugar and add gradually to the egg whites. Reserve 3 tbsp egg whites for later. 

2. Mix the ground almonds with the vanilla, cinnamon and ground coffee. Now add the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Fold together until the dough doesn't stick to your hands. If it's too sticky add more icing sugar (or a little bit of oat or rice flour). 

3. Roll out the dough between to pieces of cling foil (roughly 1 cm thick). Place the dough in the fridge for 2 hours. 

4. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Using (heart-, or star-, or whatever shape you like-) cookie cutters, cut out your cookies, place them on a lined baking tray and brush on some of the remaining egg whites. 

5. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes. Let them cool down completely before removing from the baking sheets. 

Chestnut & Hazelnut Cookies

It's not even december yet, but for a a couple of days now, I have had this itch in my fingers to bake christmas cookies. But as I think it's a little to early to swamp the blog with christmas recipes just yet, as a compromise, I decided to just bake cookies. No christmas. Or well, maybe just a teeny tiny pinch. 

I added a little bit of allspice to these cookies, so they do have a bit of a christmas smell to them. But mostly, cause of the allspice, they combine extremely well with coffee. So get brewing, and baking :-)  

A while back I experimented with chestnut and hazelnut and how to get both into one cookie. As usual, I didn't write down what I was doing, rather just going with my guts. And even though I get the best results with this habit, I often resent it afterwards, when I try to recall what exactly I have done. So now, it took me two more turns to reconstruct these scrumptious cookies. And after a couple of tweaks here and there, I dare say, they are even better than the first batch. Cause of the chestnut flour, these cookies are also gluten free, and cause I didn't have any eggs in the fridge, they are vegan too. :-)

Ingredients

  • 140 g chestnut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 g oats (optional: gluten-free)
  • 80 g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 90 - 100 g coconut blossom sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch allspice
  • pinch salt
  • 110 g coconut oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal + 2 tbsp water)
  • 100 g chestnuts, precooked
  • 50 - 100 g chocolate chips
  • 1 - 2 tbsp water

Instructions

1. Melt the coconut oil. In the meantime mix together all the dry ingredients: chestnut flour, baking powder, oats, hazelnuts, sugar, salt and spices. 

2. Put the chestnuts in a blender and blend until you get a meal-like consistency. Prepare the flax egg. 

3. Now mix together the dry ingredients with the melted coconut oil, flax egg, chestnuts and chocolate chips and knead everything together with your hands. If the dough is too crumbly add 1 - 2 tbsp of water. 

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a spoon or your hands, form little balls of dough, place them on a baking try, lined with baking paper, and gently press down (so the cookies are about 1 cm thick). While the oven is preheating, place the cookies in the fridge for 5 - 10 minutes. 

5. Take out of the fridge and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Okay I admit I'm going a little ice-cream-crazy this week. People say, as a food blogger, you should always try to offer your readers changing stories to make your blog interesting, so your readers don't get bored. Well. I'm sorry. But you gotta understand - I'm basically living off ice cream these days. Temperatures have climbed to almost 40°C today and even our jumpy, energetic dog Nelson won't leave the house anymore. 

So ice cream it is. Everyday. All day. Obviously I do at some point need to think of the repercussions to my health. So in order to ease my conscience I find it helps to make my own ice cream rather than gulping down a ton of additives I bought from the supermarket. 

This recipe is inspired by the Minimalist Baker - I love those guys. They come up with a lot of great stuff, especially when it comes to vegan and gluten free alternatives. As usual I changed a few bits and bobs here and there and this is the result. 

For the Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 200 g cashews, soaked in water overnight 
  • 150 g soft dates, pitted 
  • 1 (400ml) can coconut cream 
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla seeds 
  • you will need a high speed quality food processor/ blender
  • you will need an ice cream machine (or be prepared to churn your ice cream per hand)

Instructions

The night before

1. In a bowl, cover the cashews with water and let soak overnight. 

2. Place the ice cream making bowl in the freezer (check your ice cream maker's manual if you aren't sure whether you need to do this). 

For the Ice Cream

3. Toss all the ingredients for your ice cream in the blender and blend until your mix becomes a really smooth batter. This may take a couple of minutes depending on the power of your blender. 

4. Set up your ice cream machine according to manual. Pour in the ice cream mixture and churn for about 15 - 30 minutes (again depending on your ice cream machine this can take longer or even shorter - just keep an eye on it). Churn until you get a creamy, thickened ice-cream consistency. 

This is where the cookie dough part begins. And you can do this in the meantime while you're ice cream churns. 

For the Cookie Dough

Ingredients

  • 200 g chunky peanut butter (organic)
  • 80 g oat flour (how to make this check out my peanut butter cookie recipe)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 30 g coconut blossom sugar

This is basically (almost) the same recipe I used for my peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwiches. Again just a few alterations here and there. I might be repetitive in making ice cream these days but I do love to modify my recipes every time I make something new. I'm not that lazy ;-) 

5. So for the cookie dough, toss all the ingredients in your blender and blend until you have a smooth, slightly sticky ball of dough. Wrap in cling foil and chill until you're ice cream reaches the right consistency. 

Keeping an eye on your ice cream

6. When your ice cream thickens you can start to throw in little chunks of cookie dough. Just form little balls of dough in your hands and toss them in your ice cream machine as it churns. 

7. When you think it's done, or you simply can't wait any longer, depending on the texture of your ice cream, you can eat it right away (that's what I did - obviously) or scoop the ice cream in a freezer-friendly bowl or tin, cover with cling foil, and freeze for another 4 - 6 hours to solidify. 

8. I also added some vegan rice milk chocolate to my ice cream. You can be creative - just add whatever you like, roasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate, caramel, whatever you feel like. 

9. After it's been in the freezer for a while, take it out 15 - 20 minutes before serving to soften. 


Thank you to my dear friend from Kilda Nordic Interior for providing these gorgeous bowls. Love them! 

Peanut butter cookies & banana ice cream

Today I wanna let you guys in on one of my all time favourite flavour combinations - it's nothing new, I admit, but it's a classic that cannot be left untold. Banana and peanut butter for me are like two sides of the same coin. The salty and the sweet. The crunchy and the chewy. It's just something I can't get enough of. 

So not only did I use this combination in the making of the cookies I also added some instant banana ice cream on top. Whilst shooting this recipe I must have eaten at least 4 or 5 of those ice cream sandwiches. Those of you, who have ever taken the time to photograph ice cream will understand. You got to be fast, and even when you are, the ice cream still runs faster - literally. So I had no choice but to eat it all. Let me tell you, I felt slightly queasy afterwards, but I don't feel sorry for one second. 

But first things first. The Cookies. For this recipe I specifically set out to make a soft, chewy cookie, as when you combine it with ice cream you don't want it to be too hard, because then it will be really hard to eat it without all of the lovely ice cream being squeezed out. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients 

  • 270 g chunky peanut butter (organic)
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed 
  • 100 g oats (gluten-free if you prefer)
  • 70 g coconut blossom sugar
  • optional: chocolate chips, cinnamon, or any other flavours you feel like experimenting with

Instructions

1. Toss the oats in a food processor and pulse until you get a fine flour-like powder. 

2. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter with the mashed banana, the oat flour, and the sugar. 

3. Wrap the dough in cling foil and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 

4. Form little tablespoon-sized balls of dough, place them on the baking sheet and, using a fork, flatten the cookies (mine were about 0.5 cm thick). In case the fork gets a little sticky, it helps to occasionally dip it in water. 

5. Bake for about 8 - 10 minutes. The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but once they start cooling down they will solidify. This is crucial if you want that chewy, soft texture. If you leave them in longer you will get crispier (still really yummy) cookies. 

These cookies are a great treat just by themselves already. The other night I had some with a cup of warm honey-ed almond cinnamon milk. Pure bliss and a great bedtime treat. There is a great word for bedtime sweets in German: Betthupferl. Let me tell you, these cookies make for a great Betthupferl. Slept like a baby and woke up wanting more. :-) And yes, of course you can have cookies for breakfast! 

With all that being said you might as well stop here. But let's be honest. Ice cream makes everything better! I mean literally everything. So that brings me to the second part of this recipe. 


Instant Banana Ice Cream 

Ingredients

  • 3 previously frozen bananas (about 3 hours in the freezer suffice)
  • a splash of almond milk (or any other liquid, even water will do the trick)
  • optional: vanilla essence/ vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon, chocolate chips, coconut butter, or even more peanut butter
  • you will need a high speed blender - I use an Omniblend 

Instructions

1. Break up the frozen bananas into chunks and put them in your food processor. 

2. Add liquid and any other optional add-ons. And mix.... :-) 

3. ... until you get a soft, slushy ice cream like consistency. 

4. Now all you gotta do is spread some banana ice cream on your freshly baked cookies - and eat it fast :-) 


Ever since I discovered it was so easy to make ice cream without an ice cream machine and without heavy cream and tons of sugar I never looked back. This is so easy and to be honest, you don't even have to feel guilty having this ice cream. I mean it's just bananas, right? So scoop generously  :-) 


Thank you to my dear friend from Kilda Nordic Interior for providing this beautiful marbled chopping board. So pretty!  

 

 

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

For a long time now I have been trying out recipes in order to make the ultimate peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. Often they turned out to dry or the peanut flavour didn't come through enough. After roaming the web for quite some time now, collecting inspiration from other blogs and books I put together this recipe. 

Ingredients

  • 150 g almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 165 g chunky peanut butter 
  • 160 g agave syrup 
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with
    2,5 tbsp water
  • 130 g dark chocolate chips
  • 60 g peanuts

As you might be able to tell - this recipe isn't using any eggs or flour, so it's basically vegan and glutenfree. The flaxseed-water-mix serves as a binding agent and substitutes the egg. Compared to my recent try-outs I find that in this version the almond flour gives the cookie a much more moist, gooey structure than conventional flour would. This goes extremely well with the taste and crunch of the peanut butter and nuts and chocolate chips - with which this cookie is bursting. 

Ok, so this is what you gotta do. It's pretty straight forward as this is a one-bowl recipe. 

Instructions 

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine the ground flaxseed with the water and let it soak for a couple of minutes. Add the vanilla and baking powder to the almond four and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk the peanut butter. 


2. Mix the peanut butter with the agave syrup. 


3. Add the flaxseed-water-mix to the peanut butter mix. 


4. Now add the flour-vanilla-baking powder mixture to the peanut butter mix. Mix together bit by bit, stirring well so as to avoid any lumps. 


5. Fold in the chocolate chips. 


6. Lastly, add the peanuts and combine well. 


7. Line a big tray with a baking sheet. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and a teaspoon to scrape the sticky spoonful of dough onto your baking sheet. 


8. Bake for approximately 12 minutes until golden brown. The cookies will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. Don't let this trouble you, they will solidify when cooled down. That being said, these  cookies are definitely more on the soft side - so don't expect a big crunchy break when biting in to them. What you can expect is a mouth-watering mixture of soft, pasty texture combined with crunchy bits of peanuts and chocolate chips.