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Thanksgiving is here and you probably have a lot on your plate already. Who is coming to dinner? Should I bring out the good china? What kind of snacks should I serve? Fear not, here are just a few ideas on how to spruce up your Thanksgiving!

Snacks: Before the big meal of turkey and stuffing, everyone is always looking for something to nibble on. If you have guests, it’s sometimes best to have a small spread for everyone to munch on,teatssc1000025103_-00_jacobs-mini-twiglets-caddy-7-05oz-200g_1 just to tide them over until dinner. That’s when you break out the cheese and crackers. Most people love cheese and it can go very fast, especially with some Jacob’s Biscuits for cheese. The best cheeses to try these savory biscuits with would be brie, English cheddar, or even your own special cheese dip. These go with just about anything and they’re well worth it! Another savory snack that is a hit among snackers are the Twiglets. These crunchy little sticks are Marmite flavored, so some may love them, and some may not but they do cause some conversation at the snack table.

teatssc1000015134_-00_mcvities-biscuits-victoria-carton-10-58oz-300g_1Cookies: If your guests fancy cookies as much as crackers, then cookie varieties are a must! McVitie’s makes a variety box called Family Circle which features some of their best cookies (like digestives, bourbon creams, and jammy cookies) all in one box so there’s something for everyone! Or more in the mood for chocolate? Try the Victoria selection box. There’s lots of chocolatey cookies in this beautiful box but be careful, this could be gone very quickly!

Tea: If you plan to serve tea at your Thanksgiving feast, it may be a bit hard sometimes as you may not know what type of tea to serve since there are guests who have different preferences. Luckily, there are English Tea Store Samplers, which provide everyone a type and flavor for everyone. Not sure which sampler? There’s the Tea for Any Occasion. Perfect for parties, dinners, or desserts, it’s literally perfect for any time! This loose leaf sampler includes Pumpkin Spice, Godiva Roche, English Breakfast 2, and along with 5 other teas.

What are some of your favorite things to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner? Any ideas of your own? Let us know!

-CD

 

 

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English Tea Store (c) Julia Briggs

This is a very old recipe from my Mother’s recipe book and when I looked at a more modern recipe I found that gingerbread men are now called gingerbread people!  Who knew that?

So,  call them what you will, here is the recipe:

 

 

Oven 160 C 325 F or gas mark 3

  • Grease or line three baking sheets
  • 10 oz self raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 4 oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 oz butter
  • 3 Tablespoons  golden syrup
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons milk

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    English Tea Store (c) Julia Briggs

  • Currants, glace cherries and or icing

Warm sugar, butter and golden syrup together, meanwhile sift the flour with salt and ginger.  Mix these dry ingredients  together with the liquid and, if necessary,  add some milk to make a firm dough.  Knead slightly on a floured board, then roll out, not too thin unless you want crispy biscuits!

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English Tea Store (c) Julia Briggs

Cut out shapes and place on the baking sheets adding two currant pieces for eyes and a small piece of glace cherry for a mouth.

Or leave blank and ice later.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm and golden.  Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer carefully onto a wire cooling rack.  Decorate with colored icing.  This should make about 16-20 depending on the size of your cutter.

They will keep in an air-tight tin.

– JAB

 

Empire Bisc

(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Last year The English Tea Store mentioned that I would be writing a blog of recipes and also trying those recipes out. Penny Shiel asked for a good recipe for Empire biscuits and I have now found one. The basic biscuits are shortbread and two biscuits are sandwiched together with jam and then icing put on top plus a glace cherry if liked.  You will need;

12 oz butter
4 oz sugar
12 oz plain flour
4 oz cornstarch
a few drops of vanilla essence

a small amount of jam
4 oz icing sugar
water

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and add the vanilla essence, then beat in the flour and cornstarch until everything is combined. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to 1/2 inch thick, cut out 48 rounds using a small plain scone/biscuit cutter and place on the baking sheets, not too close together. Bake for about 20-25 mins until golden but not brown; if necessary cover the biscuits with foil after 10 mins to stop the biscuits from browning too much. Allow to cool on the baking sheets and then transfer to a cooling rack.  When cold place one teaspoon of jam on one biscuit and put another biscuit on top.  Then make your icing with icing sugar and water, not too runny though! Ice each biscuit top and if liked place a small piece of glace cherry on top.  This makes about 24 completed biscuits which will keep in an airtight tin. I ate mine with some lemon tea.

~JB

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

With the end of Lent we have Easter eggs and other such niceties and one of our favourites at this time of the year is Easter nests.  They are so easy to make you can even get the children involved, although watch out for things being popped into mouths!  My daughter loves to help with these but she like licking the bowls out best of all!

You will need:

8 oz Cadbury’s milk or plain chocolate bar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 oz butter
3 ozs cornflakes or rice crispies
36 mini chocolate eggs (plus extra for eating whilst making!)
12 paper cases.

No baking is required; they are just chilled in the ‘fridge when done.

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt together with the golden syrup and butter, either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water.  Stir until smooth, be careful not to get the chocolate too hot!  Stir the cornflakes in until they are all coated in chocolate and divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases.  Put the paper cases into bun tins otherwise they spread too much.  Press three chocolate eggs into the centre of each nest (always assuming there are 36 eggs left!)  They should resemble bird’s nests with eggs in.  Chill in the ‘fridge for about an hour or until set.  They keep well in an airtight tin but only if you hide the tin away from prying eyes and fingers – otherwise they will all be eaten on the same day that you make them!

~JB

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Eclairs are made from Choux (shoo) pastry and are not the easiest thing in the world to make, do not keep well unless you freeze them but, taste amazing! You will need to start these early because the pastry needs to cool down half way through. Trust me, though – the wait will be worth it! Maybe you could make some for Mothering Sunday (here in the UK it is 15th March) or afternoon tea with a friend or two.

Oven 220 C, 425 F, Gas mark 7, put a dish of water in the base of the oven and grease a baking sheet or line it with baking parchment, then run under the tap to leave a film of water on the sheet.

Make your Choux pastry :

2 oz butter
1/4 pint water
4 oz plain flour
3 medium eggs lightly beaten

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Put the butter and water in a pan and over a gentle heat bring to the boil. Make sure the water is boiling before adding the flour. Remove from the heat and shoot the flour into the pan and stir thoroughly. Return to the hob and stir until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool before adding the eggs otherwise you could end up with a lump of pastry and scrambled egg! When cool add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating or whisking thoroughly.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Now you are ready to pipe. Place your pastry into a piping bag with a half inch nozzle and pipe 3 inch lengths onto your baking sheet, using a knife to cut off the pastry and the end of each eclair.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Bake for about 20 mins until risen and light brown in colour. Immediately make a slit down one side of each eclair and pop back in the oven for one minute. Then place on a cooling rack.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Whip 1/4 pint of whipping or double cream and add a few drops of vanilla essence and two tablespoons of icing sugar.  Pipe this cream into each eclair. For the chocolate topping I used Cadbury’s milk just melted but you can use chocolate glace icing if you want. This should make about 18 eclairs and you can freeze them (without cream or icing) on the day if you are not wanting to use them all. If frozen just refresh them in the oven slightly before filling and decorating.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

If you need something sweet then Florentines are wonderful. They sound Italian but I think they are of French origin. They are fairly easy to make but require constant attention so don’t start them if you are doing something else. For approximately 20 Florentines you will need:

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

A quantity of quartered glace cherries, chopped almonds, flaked almonds, candied peel and chopped dried apricots.  Difficult to be precise but about 10 oz in total.

3 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
1/2 oz plain flour
2 tablespoons of double cream
4 oz block of chocolate.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas 4.  A greased baking sheet or one lined with baking parchment.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sugar and bring gently to the boil. Take off the heat. Cover the fruit and nuts with the flour and then stir into the mixture add the cream and leave to cool and set. When quite cold and set, place teaspoons of the mixture onto a baking sheet leaving plenty of room for expansion. Bake in the centre of your oven for about three minutes then take out and pull the biscuits together into a circle with a metal pastry cutter. Bake for another three minutes.  If necessary repeat the pulling together one more time and cook for another two minutes. Once cooked the biscuits will change to a darker colour; leave on the sheet until cold then very carefully remove to a cooling rack with a spatula. The biscuits are fragile at this point; it is the chocolate that makes them more robust. Once cold, melt your block of chocolate (if you have not eaten it by this time!) and dip or spread the underside of the biscuits with the chocolate and leave upside down to set. Just before the chocolate sets, move a fork through and make wavy lines on the chocolate. These will keep for some time in an airtight tin but they are very moreish so hide them away if they are for a special occasion.

~JB

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

These are so easy to make, do not take very long and go nicely with a cup of mint tea or hot chocolate.

Heat the oven to 180 C 350 F or gas mark 4

Grease two baking trays or use baking parchment

4 ozs butter
3 ozs soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
6 ozs Self Raising Flour
4 ozs chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cold milk

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Beat the butter until soft and then add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.  Stir in the syrup, flour, milk and chocolate chips. (I used milk and white chocolate chips but you can use anything you like).  Place small spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared trays and bake for 8-10 mins. Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.  My daughter likes to eat them when they are still warm and always asks for large ones not  small ones!  Hers is the one on the plate.

~JB

Ginger

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Ginger snaps (or Ginger biscuits) are very easy to make, especially for the children with a bit of help with the melting process. This recipe makes 24 and they keep well in an airtight tin. You will need:

8 ozs Self Raising Flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ozs Caster Sugar or soft brown sugar
3 ozs Butter
4 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1 egg, beaten

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

Gingersnaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Mix the dry ingredients together and warm the syrup and butter either in the microwave or in a pan.  Add to the dry ingredients with the beaten egg and mix well.  Place teaspoons on a baking sheet leaving plenty of room and bake for 15 mins.  Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

~JB

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store.

With St. Valentine’s day approaching I thought you might like to try some sweets.  These are so easy to make but look good especially if given as a present in a nice box.  You will need:

2 medium eggs (whites only)
1 lb icing sugar
a few drops of peppermint oil
green food colouring (optional)

This is a basic fondant mixture and you can leave them as they are or cover some with chocolate, in which case you will also need a bar of chocolate!

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Beat the egg whites with a hand or electric mixer then add the sieved icing sugar gradually; when the paste becomes too stiff to use a mixer, change to a wooden spoon.  Add about three drops of peppermint oil and knead well in with your hands.  I decided to make some green ones too so I divided the mixture and added a few drops of green colouring into about one third of the paste.  Taste your paste and if necessary add more peppermint oil. Roll out on an icing-sugar-sprinkled table to about a quarter inch thick, and cut rounds with a very small cutter (heart shaped one if you have one!). Dip the cutter into some icing sugar  between each cutting. Leave somewhere cool to harden. When crisp on the outside cover some with chocolate and leave them to set on an oiled tray. It is a messy job to coat with chocolate but when it is done you can lick your fingers! These go very well with champagne but equally well with a light fruit  or mint tea. They keep quite a long time in an airtight tin and this should make about 24.

The egg yolks can be used to make an egg custard, recipe for that coming this spring!

~JB

Brandy snaps look really impressive but are not that difficult to make, not easy peasy but not hard!

BrandySnaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

50 g or 2 oz butter
50 g or 2 oz caster sugar
2 x 15 ml spoon or 2 tablespoons golden syrup
50 g or 2 oz self raising flour
1 x 2.5 ml spoon or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 x 5 ml spoon or 1 teaspoon brandy or rum

Whipping cream whipped up.

Brandy Snaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Heat the oven to 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4, grease a baking tray and the handle of a wooden spoon.

Melt the butter sugar and syrup in a saucepan or in a bowl and into the microwave.  Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients, beat well.

Brandy

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Put small spoonfuls of the mixture at least 3 inches apart on the baking tray and bake for 7-10 mins.  Bake in small batches I put four drops on each tray, they spread out.  Allow each batch to cool slightly and always have the next batch ready to go when one comes out.  Roll each one around the handle of a greased wooden spoon, remove the spoon and leave the biscuit on a wire tray.  Do not try and roll too soon, if the mixture is too soft it will not hold the shape of the wooden spoon.  If the biscuit is too cool and set you will not be able to roll without it cracking, so  re-heat a little more in the oven to soften and try again.  Keep going until all the mixture has been used.  When completely cold pipe fresh cream into both ends and serve immediately.  These biscuit will keep for quite a while in an air-tight tin and then just piping the cream before you serve.

If you roll when the biscuit are too hot you will get a slump!

~J. xx

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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