We’re into proper xmas baking in the house this weekend. Sop’s been icing the xmas cakes, and I’m starting with mince pies, and rather strangely mince cookies.
The mince pies use the same Paul Hollywood pastry as the previous ones I made. Instead of a pastry top we did marzipan tops, following an old recipe Soph has photocopied from the Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookbook:
- 500g ground almonds
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 tsp orange-flower water
That lot gets bunged in the mixer (with a splash guard!) and mixed and kneaded into marzipan.
The pies got cooked as before, which turned out to be a little harsh for the marzipan as it was very dark at the edges.
Once they were cooled I made a basic meringue:
- 4 medium egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 250g caster sugar
The egg whites are beaten with the cream of tartar until they start to get some structure, then the sugar beaten in a bit at a time, before beating until it forms soft peaks.
This gets pipped onto the cooled pies, and they go into a 160c fan oven for 6 minutes. This just set the meringues, with only the slightest browning on top. So we should have a crisp shell and chewy centre.
The idea for the cookies came from Baked and Delicious magazine isse 55 p12. The recipe for the basic shortbread biscuit has an egg in it, and I wanted to avoid any spreading so I flipped to a simple recipe from Biscuit p72 that’s originally for a lavender biscuit, but I just dropped that flavouring:
- 175g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 25g semolina
- 125g cold, unsalted butter
This is nice an simple: bung everything in the food processor and wait for it to form a dough, with occasional scraping down.
The dough was chilled, then rolled out and circles cut from it. These were topped with marzipan circles.
These were cooked at 160c fan for 12 minutes, turning half way through. After cooling on a wire rack they went back on the baking tray, had a tsp dollop of mincemeat added.
then that was covered with a swirl of meringue.
They then got an extra 7 minutes in a 160c fan oven to set the meringue: once again only just setting with hardly any browning.
We tasted them once they cooled and the meringues just has a crispness to them, and the centre was all light and liquid, not really chewy as such. We left them out overnight and in the morning they’d dried out more, and the middle was chewier, but it was still nice and crispy on the outside :)