Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cranberry and coconut biscuits (or cookies)

Cranberry and coconut biscuits

One sunny Saturday afternoon, I decided it was time to turn my hand to something sweet that did not come in the form of cupcakes or cake. I was almost stumped at what to do, but the trusty Women's Weekly cookbook came to my rescue by providing a very easy to make vanilla biscuit recipe.  As this seemed far too boring, I turned to their 'variations' list and found this recipe for cranberry and coconut biscuits.  Much more exciting. I had just bought some dried cranberries to go in my (soon to be started) Christmas fruit cakes, and thought I could warm them up first in some biscuits.
Start with 200 grams of butter. If it's straight from the fridge, place it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it up, but not melt it!
 1 cup of icing sugar. If it's not from a newly bought and opened packet, you will probably need to sift it.  Beating it on its own in a kitchen mixer will also do the same job (slowly so it doesn't become a layer of dust in your kitchen!) 
Beat the butter into the icing sugar.
The recipe calls for half a teaspoon of vanilla essence, but I reduced this to 1/4 of a teaspoon so as not to drown out the coconut taste. Add this and an egg. 
Beat it for a few minutes until it's really light and creamy.  You'll know when it's done as the butter will turn a shade or two lighter. 
 voila! lighter in colour after 5 minutes. Add half a cup of dried desiccated coconut, and half a cup of cranberries. This didn't look like enough. Change that to 2/3 of a cup of each!
 And the cranberries are in. Beat until they're just mixed in.
 Now for the flour. Add one cup of plain flour
and half a teaspoon of bi-carb soda. 
Beat in very slowly until just mixed.   
Then add another 3/4 cup plain flour. Mix in again. 
And you're done! How easy was that? 
This is now the perfect time for a friend to drop in for afternoon tea, as putting teaspoon-sized balls of dough on a sheet is much quicker and more fun with some help. If you want to make big cookies rather than tea-sized biscuits, use a tablespoon of dough instead, and bake a few minutes longer.
 Space them out on a baking-paper lined tray, and into the oven for 15 minutes at 160 degrees (not fan forced).
 Just make sure they're not over-cooked! They don't have to be brown on top, but they should spring back if you lightly touch one. 
 Slide them onto a cooling tray
 Break open and enjoy with tea and friends!

Cranberry and coconut biscuits       (or cookies)

200g butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda

1. Beat butter and sugar in kitchen mixer until combined
2. Add vanilla essence and egg.  Beat well for 5 minutes or until mixture is lighter in colour and texture
3. Mix in coconut and cranberries
4. Fold in 1 cup of flour, along with the bi-carb soda
5. Fold in the other 3/4 cup flour until just combined
6. Line a baking tray with baking paper, place teaspoon sized balls of dough onto the tray, with at least 2cm in between them as they expand in the oven.
7. Bake for 15 minutes at 160 degrees c.
8. Cool them and eat or take them to friends.

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