You can't have a half-term holiday without baking and this time, we had a two-day project planned : baking and then decorating some fabulous New York-themed biscuits, using a recipe card and some brilliant cookie-cutters from the last Bake Box.
This one had an American theme - you may remember some of the other recipes that we've tried from this box, including Banoffee Whoopie Pies, Mini Baked Ring Donuts and a Baked NYC Cheesecake (with a Chrysler Building-inspired chocolate decoration that I didn't quite pull off !) - so we received cookie cutters and embossers in the shape of the Statue of Liberty, a New York taxi cab and an I heart NY T-shirt.
In honour of all things American, the recipe was for peanut butter cookies and I just happened to have a jar of authentic American peanut butter and grape jelly in the cupboard, so I used that.
I also used some Tate & Lyle White Sugar with Stevia, which is lower in calories and sweeter than regular sugar so you only need half as much. This had to be a good thing given the amount of peanut butter and butter in there ! Here's the recipe I used, and you can see the original recipe over on the Bake Box Bake Club website, which makes icing from scratch.
New York Biscuits
For the biscuit dough
200g (7oz) smooth peanut butter
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, diced and softened
200g (7oz) caster sugar (or 100g sugar with stevia)
200g (7oz) light brown sugar
2 eggs, straight from the fridge
2tsp vanilla extract
675g (1lb 8oz) plain flour
yellow, black and green sugar paste/fondant icing
icing gel pens and edible dust
Beat together the peanut butter, butter and sugars until creamy. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix in the flour to make a dough.
Knead gently until you have a ball of workable dough.
Roll out between two sheets of parchment and chill for 30 minutes.
Cut out the shapes using the cookie cutters and embossers.
The dough is slightly crumbly so you need to be gentle when transferring them to the baking sheets, but if they do break, you can just roll them back into a ball and start again
Chill for an extra hour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. We stopped there for day one, put them in a cake tin and came back to decorate them the next day.
I have to admit, I've fallen in love with cookie embossers - they make it so simple to get impressive-looking cookies with very little effort.
We rolled out yellow fondant icing, transferred it to the biscuit with a fish slice then added details with gel icing pens and tiny pieces of sugar paste shaped by hand for the tyres.
With trial and error, we realised that it's actually easier to roll out the icing, transfer it to the biscuit and then use the embosser once it's in place. I just got all my icing gel pens and edible dust out on the table and let the kids have a blast - I think they did a grand job !
Disclosure : I received a free Bake Box subscription in order to share my attempts at recreating the recipes. Bake Box delivers a new package of goodies every two months and each box costs £14.99 + £2.99 postage. For more information and to see the recipes : http://the-bake-box.com/