Fig, Hazelnut and Orange Shortbread

Fig, Hazelnut and Orange Shortbread

4 oz Unsalted butter

2 oz Sugar

2 oz All purpose flour

2 oz rice flour or corn flour for a grainier crumb

2 oz Hazelnut meal

¼ tsp salt

2 oz dried figs

Zest of 1 orange

1 Tbsp orange juice

1 oz Raw sugar

Pre heat the oven to 300℉

Cut the butter into small cubes and put in a mixing bowl or food processor. Add to this the sugar, flours, hazelnut meal and salt.  Using your fingers combine these ingredients until little pea size balls form,or blitz until combined. Dice the figs, add that and the orange zest to the crumb mix. Pour in the orange juice and stir with a knife and gently squeeze the mix to bring it together. You may need to add a tiny amount of cold water. Be careful not to drown the mix, it is meant to be crumbly.

Bring the mixture together into a log shape and wrap in plastic warp. Shape the log so that it is approximately 2×2 inches square and 6 inches long. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to help obtain the shape. Gently flatten each side of the log on the counter to make a rectangle.

Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Unwrap the log, roll in the raw sugar pressing lightly. Slice the log  into 1/4 thick slices and put onto a parchment lined baking sheet,

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Enjoy F.

Cookie Molds

Molds are such a great way to make beautiful cookies. I got mine from house on the hill, they have a fabulous assortment.

This mold is #7820 Sentimental Heart

The intricate design will be transfered onto the cookie

A double rose motive

The mold comes with a recipe book, balancing the correct texture with taste it tricky with such an intricate mold, anything too buttery, like a shortbread get stuck in the mold. So trial and error is part and parcel with the mold.

Here I make a variant of  the gingerbread recipe in the book.

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup golden syrup

1/4 cup softened butter

3 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 350°

Reflection in the molasses

Pour the molasses into a measuring jug & add in the honey

Honey bubbles

Next add in the golden syrup, you could substitute this with honey.

I love the way it drips from the spoon

and I wasn't the only one

My little helper thought loved 'the sticky"

OK, back to the cookies…

Pour what will pour and scrape out the rest

Mix into the bowl that has the softened butter in it

Onto the dry ingredients, gather your spices and measure them into one little bowl






Add the spices to the wet ingredients

And the flour 1 cup at a time

Dough after 1 cup of flour

Dough after 3 cups

Knead to incorporate everything fully

Then roll out onto a silicon mat until the dough is about 3/8 inch thick

Bolt off any excess

Spray the mold with some Pam.You will need to repeat this after every two or three cookies

Press the mold onto the dough applying pressure evenly, then cut around the outside

Gently pry the mold away from the dough, loosen the edges with a sharp knife. Be gentle at this stage.

Sometimes they'll come out perfectly..

...Sometimes they won't

The good thing about dough is that it can be gathered up and re-rolled.  Transfer the cookies onto an awaiting cookie sheet lined with a silicon mat.

I like to make a little hole in one corner of the cookie so that I can thread a ribbon through with a tag on it a write a message to the recipient.



Something else I have done with these cookies is to cut them in half, making the line zig zaggy and put a hole in each half. That way you can easily share your heart with a loved one.

Baked to perfection, after about 20 minutes

A little of the definition is lost in baking, but not too much

Ready to give to someone special

You can also use these mold with fondant, papercasting or clay, just don’t mix the usage, either craft or baking. f.

Less Stress Christmas

I think there must be something in the air that makes this time of year so hectic, The short days make people go in to a tail spin. Santa is lucky that he only has to check his list TWICE, I consult my MANY lists several  times a day! I call my compilation of lists, notes, photocopies and tear outs my Christmas Brain.

I start by printing out a calendar of the month and jotting things onto it. Events that are fixed and unlikely to change I write directly onto the calendar and those which may move about are written on post it notes. I do this because I find crossing things out rewriting new things in the same space makes me confused. The whole point of this is to make organising myself and my time easier.

I also keep my Christmas gift list here and can tick off items when they have been purchased.

If  there is a day that will be extra busy I print a d day planner of that and behind each day I put photocopies and tear outs of recipes and other sheets of inspiration the pertain to that day. I keep it all together with a clip.

Another time saver I’ve found useful is to measure out and bag dry ingredients for baked goods. I them put them in the cupboard with a copy of the recipe and know I only have to add butter, eggs, vanilla and other wet ingredients. I usually keep a good stock of those things.

Remember to label them too.

I also bake several batches of cookies, form them into balls and freeze them, that way there is always a treat minutes away if anyone should drop by unexpected. This works really well with sausage rolls too.

Cackle Cookies

Get ready to bake some tasty goodness.

Makes about 12 cookies

Here are the ingredients;

2 Sticks room temperature unsalted butter  Cackle cookies

¾ Cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2 Cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1½ Cups hard toffee broken into pieces

½ Cup Dark chocolate

Witches hat cookie cutter

Chocolate transfer sheets

Preheat the oven to 325°

Buttery sweet crunchiness

Buttery sweet crunchiness

Break the toffee into bits, you’ll need 1½ cups of this good stuff. Click this & it will take you to the recipe for toffee

Cackle cookies

Put the butter, sugar, vanilla,flour and salt into a bowl

I'm not too posh to get down and dirty
I’m not too posh to get down and dirty

Combine in bowl, If you don’t want to use your hands use a wooden spoon. A mixer will quickly over beat the dough

Cackle cookies

I used a wooden spoon to stir in the toffee…… some of those bits are sharp!!

Cackle cookiesTip the dough on to a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper

Cackle cookiesSmouch down with your finger tips. Make sure to get it into the edges

Cackle cookiesFlatten and smooth with a rolling pin

Pop it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Then cut around the edges and remove from the pan. I lift the edge of the silicon baking sheet and slide it the rest of the way

Cackle cookiesNow I cut out the cookies. You want the cookies to have rested and settled a little, but the still need to be warm.

There is a lot of unshaped cookie left over, I wouldn’t call it waste because it gets eaten, but if you wanted more you could try cutting the out before baking, but the dough will spread.

Cackle cookies Leave to cool on a rack

Cackle cookiesLay the transfer sheet rough textured side up

Cackle cookiesMelt the chocolate and pour a thick ribbon onto the transfer sheet

Cackle cookiesSpread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula

Cackle cookiesLeave the chocolate until it is semi hard then use the cookies cutter to cut out the hat shape

Cackle cookiesVery gently peel away the chocolate around the hat. Place the chocolate hat somewhere safe

Cackle cookiesTurn the cookie over, you need to have the smoothest side of the cookie facing upwards, also the chocolate transfer sheet cut out will be the reverse of the cut out cookie

Cackle cookiesDrizzle more melted chocolate onto the cookie. You can  use the scraps from the transfer sheet and remelt it

Cackle cookies

Smooth the chocolate on the cookie and delicately place the transfer sheet cut out onto it

Cackle cookies

Cackle cookiesServe on a creepy plate

Toffee for Cackle Cookies

You could buy  toffee, but it’s super simple and much cheaper to make it your self. This is more than you’ll need for the Cackle Cookies, you could always cover the extra in chocolate and nuts.


Lay out a baking sheet with a silicon baking sheet on top.  The baking sheet I used measured 9 x 13 inches. You can vary this depending on what thickness you want the toffee to be.

Toffee1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 oz unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water

ToffeeI always use unsalted butter, and add the salt separately. That way I can always control the amount going into the recipe

Cook this over a medium high heat

ToffeePut the sugar into a pan. I used a frying pan, but it works the same in a saucepan

ToffeeAdd in all the other ingredients and stir constantly

ToffeeYou want all the sugar and butter to have melted before the mixture begins to boil


Once it begins to bubble stop stirring and set a timer for 10 minuets

ToffeeAt 4 minutes the bubbles look foamy, almost like frothy egg whites

ToffeeAt 5 minutes, there is barely any change, keep an eye on it


ToffeeAt 6 minuets, there is a definite colour change, the middle is a shade or two darker and that’s the spot to watch

ToffeeAt 7 minutes the mixture is bubbling beautifully

ToffeeAt 8 minutes the underneath will be darker, The toffee darken my the second and the aromas get stronger and yummier

Toffee At 9 minutes, toffee perfection. It is easy to say just a few more seconds, just a few more seconds, but the toffee will keep cooking for a fraction of time once it’s off the heat. Now’s the time to get it on the baking sheet so that it can begin it’s cool down

Use this toffee in the cackle cookies


The colour  of the toffee in the photo on the right may look Perfect, But the centre is a shade darker, and underneath darker still. In the photo of it being poured, seconds later it has continued to cook and is will be burnt and bitter.

Burnt Toffee

Burnt toffee