Chocolate chip shortbread

There’s something so wonderfully tempting about shortbread – a not too sweet biscuit with a ‘buttery’ crumbly texture topped with a shower of sugar. They’re not only elegant but also extremely versatile. They work as a stand alone cookie, as an addition to a fine pudding or to sandwich a delicious filling; now that’s a multitasking cookie if ever I’ve come across one.

These shortbreads have the addition of rich dark chocolate chips which I feel compliments the ‘buttery’ crumbly dough. You may think you’d really miss the butter in shortbread, as so often it’s the selling feature with a ‘all butter’ tagline, but by using one of the firmer plant-butters you get a similar fat-rich ‘buttery’ mouth feel. Shortbread also keeps really well so fill up the biscuit tin and it’ll keep you going all week!

 

‘Buttery’ Chocolate Chip Shortbread

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 makes about 16

150g plain flour

50g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

Pinch of salt

100g dairy-free butter, fridge cold and cubed

50g chocolate chips

20g caster sugar, for sprinkling

 

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt.
  2. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, or the mixer. As there is a large proportion of butter to flour you will form a dough pretty quickly after getting to the breadcrumb stage. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Briefly knead the dough to make it nice and smooth, and making sure the chocolate is evenly distributed.
  4. Between two sheets of parchment, roll out the dough to 3mm thick and then place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes
  5. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade
  6. Stamp out circles from the chilled dough and place, spaced apart onto a lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until starting to gain a hint of colour around the edges.
  8. Sprinkle with caster sugar whilst hot and then move to a wire rack to cool

 

Raspberry Ripple Melting Moments

Raspberry ripple is beyond doubt a real taste of summer and these melting moment cookies will fit perfectly into any Jubilee or summer celebration you might be planning. These melting moments biscuits, so called due to their wonderful melt in the mouth shortbread texture, are also sometimes referred to a yo-yo biscuits.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with a sandwich biscuit especially when the filling is as delicious as this raspberry ripple cream.

These cookies are pretty enough for any tea party with their pastel pink and white, delightfully fruity raspberry ripple cream filling. Not only do they look great, and taste even better, but travel and keep well making them the perfect choice for a picnic.

Raspberry Ripple Melting Moments

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 20 sandwich biscuits

150g dairy-free margarine

65g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)

pinch of salt

55g custard powder or cornflour

175g plain flour

Freeze-dried raspberry powder (if you have it)

1.     Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4

2.     Line 2 baking sheets with parchment

3.     Beat together the margarine, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

4.     Sift in the flours and salt to form a very soft, but not sticky dough.

5.     Make large marble sized balls and place on the baking sheet (try to make an even number). Flatten with the back of a fork. If you have the freeze-dried raspberry powder, dip the prongs of the fork into the powder before flattening the biscuits.

6.     Bake for 12 minutes

7.     Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack.

8.     Once completely cool, sandwich together with the raspberry ripple cream. To make a ripple effect, scoop a dollop of the raspberry cream, then scoop a dollop of the vanilla onto the same spatula and swirl onto the cookie.

Raspberry Ripple Cream 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

60g dairy-free margarine

220g icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla paste (or extract)

1 tbsp raspberry puree

1.     Make the raspberry puree coulis by pressing 50g fresh raspberries through a fine sieve.

2.     Whisk the margarine with 200 g of the icing sugar and vanilla paste until it is all incorporated. Halve the mix, and add the raspberry puree and extra 20g icing sugar to one half. Mix to make a wonderfully pink cream. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies (with or without a chocolate cream filling)

Yay, it’s Spring at last. Suddenly there’s light, warmth and colour popping up all over the place. If feels like a new start and I have this urge to add colour and flavour to my bakes.

I’ve got some exciting ideas with raspberry and lemon, but first up are these fun, extremely happy and colourful vanilla sprinkle cookies. How could a batch of these not make you smile and improve your day? Great as they are on their own, and they really are delicious, you can always make them even better with a wonderfully chocolate cream filling. Surely a filling improves any cookie, and with the sprinkle decoration and the chocolate heavy centre you’ve got a match made in heaven. These cookies do spread out quite a bit in the baking so mine are large, if you want to make small versions make the balls of dough olive sized and reduce the baking to around 8 minutes

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies (with or without a chocolate cream filling)

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

Makes 10-12

112g dairy-free margarine

100g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

155g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp salt

Quite a lot of sprinkles – I used half a tube!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment
  3. In a large bowl cream together the margarine, sugar and vanilla until well combined and lighter in colour.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt and mix to form a soft dough.
  5. Break off walnut sized pieces and roll in a bowl of sprinkles until totally covered
  6. Place well-spaced apart on the lined baking sheet
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until starting to turn golden.
  8. Let firm up on the baking tray and then move to a wire rack to fully cool
  9. Eat as they are or fill with the delicious chocolate cream (recipe below)

 

Chocolate Cream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

60g dairy-free margarine

200g icing sugar

1 tsp dairy-free milk (if needed)

25g melted dairy-free chocolate

  1. Whisk the margarine  with the icing sugar until it is all incorporated, adding the milk if the mixture is too stiff.
  2. Stir in the melted chocolate.

Salted caramel filled cookies

Salted caramel is one of my very favourite things so when I was approached to create a bespoke recipe using a vegan salted caramel sauce from Bad Brownie company I jumped at the chance. What better way to get the creative juices flowing than having a delicious new product to use as a starting point for inspiration?

***Paid partnership with the Bad Brownie, featuring their vegan salted caramel sauce***. I receive many offers for collaboration but will only accept those that fit the ethos of Lucy’s Friendly Foods, so most get turned down. This sauce is Free From all the allergens we avoid and so I have welcomed working with the Bad Brownie Company***

I tend to make my own caramel sauce, and you can find my recipe here: homemade caramel sauce recipe, but this very thick and sticky salted caramel sauce from the Bad Brownie Company is a really handy jar to have in your store cupboard if you don’t want to make it. This sauce can be purchased through Bad Brownie’s vegan brownie page.

It’s free from the allergens we avoid and is clearly marketed as vegan, and what is even better is that it’s really rather delicious, far tastier than other shelf-ready brands I’ve tried. I’m thinking it will be a really handy addition to the larder when you want to add a swirl to a cheesecake, or drizzle over some brownies.

Now to come up with a recipe using it… I first thought of making a caramel cake but I felt a bit non-plussed by the idea, it just wasn’t exciting enough. So, thinking cap back on… what works extremely well with caramel? Well, chocolate of course! I could have made some filled chocolates, but do many other people actually spend their time at home make handmade chocolates? I can’t say i do it that often myself.

My thoughts wandered to those caramel filled waffles you see in coffee shops, how about some kind of caramel filled cookie? A deep, dark cocoa-rich cookie with a caramel filling perhaps? Like a caramel filled Oreo type cookie? It turns out thick gooey caramel sauce sandwiched between two slightly bitter crisp chocolate cookies is very pleasing match. Seek out this wonderful caramel sauce and give it a go.

One thing to be aware of is that unless you eat these caramel filled cookies right away, the sauce – as it warms to room temperature – will start to ooze out. No biggie, but it will make them a bit messy! So, if you want to keep the cookies for a few days I’d recommend the my alternative cream filling that has a wonderful dollop of caramel goodness in the middle, then you really do get the best of both worlds.

Salted Caramel Stuffed Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Makes approx. 24 sandwich biscuits

100g hard vegetable fat (I use Trex)

180g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

100ml dairy-free milk

240g plain flour

70g cocoa powder

2 tsp cornflour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Filling:

60g vegetable fat

60g dairy-free spread

350g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Salted caramel sauce

1.     Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

2.     Cream together the vegetable fat and sugar. When fluffy, add the dairy-free milk and vanilla. Mix well. If it looks like it’s split add a couple of tbsp of flour to the mix

3.     Sift in the remaining ingredients and bring together to a firm-ish dough.

4.     Place half on a sheet of baking paper, place more paper on top and roll out to 1/4-1/2cm thickness. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter and remove the ‘in between bits’. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.

5.     Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on the tray for five minutes before moving to a wire rack.

6.     Repeat with remaining mixture until it’s all be used up.

7.     Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk together the vegetable fat and dairy-free spread. Add the vanilla.

8.     Add the icing sugar in 1/2 cup measurements, until fully incorporated. It may look like breadcrumbs, so squeeze together to form a stiff paste.

9.     Either, sandwich 1 tsp salted caramel sauce between two cookies, or

10. Roll out large grape size balls of filling and press onto a cookie, make a hollow in the centre of the filling and fill with ½ tsp salted caramel sauce. Squish another cookie on top.

11. These cookies keep well for a few days in a sealed container.

As mentioned, I really don’t often accept collaborations unless I believe in a product. I also have a firm stance on click-through adverts which I never accept as they spoil they experience of browsing for me. This was one collaboration I was happy to be part of, it’s a great product and a brand I can believe in.

Cupboard raid cookies

I’m really into baking with what’s to hand at the moment. Restrictions maybe easing here but I think I’ve gotten used to not just nipping to the shops whenever I fancy, and instead fully planning before each shop. But despite meal planning, more often than not an idea strikes and I don’t have the ingredients in, then I’m in a pickle! So to avoid disappointment I’ll take the other approach of opening the pantry doors and seeing what’s around. More often than not some interesting combination can be dreamt up on the hoof. That’s where these cookies come from, a good amount of time staring into the open larder and coming up with plans! We often seem to have bits and bobs of a variety of snacks hanging around and that made me think of Compost Cookies.

Compost cookies are very popular in the USA and the Milk Bar version seems particularly popular (at least on the social media channels I follow) but they’re not familiar in the UK. Compost Cookies are basically a cookie at which you’ve thrown in everything lurking in the kitchen cupboards, resulting in soft cookies studded with salty and sweet morsels with interesting textures. I’m not so keen on the term compost cookie, it doesn’t sound too appetising to me, hence my version ‘the cupboard raid cookie’ (well at least I think the name was concocted by me!)

You could add almost any snack like ingredient to this recipe but I’ve opted for pretzels (salty crunch), salted crisps (more salt), oats (substance), chocolate chips and crushed up biscuits (sweet crunch). I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, crisps in cookies does sound like a step too far, but they are actually pretty delicious with the sweet salty crunchy ingredients really adding to the flavour profile. Go on have a rummage and see what you come up with 🙂

Cupboard Raid Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12

110g dairy-free margarine

100g caster sugar

80g soft brown sugar

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

1 tsp essence of choice (caramel or vanilla work well)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

225g plain flour

40g assorted chocolate chips

20g broken pretzels

20g salted crisps

20g oats

20g crushed biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade (160 degrees Centigrade fan). Line two cookie sheets with baking paper
  2. Cream together the margarine and sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Whisk in the cornflour, milk and essence.
  4. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder and stir to make a soft but not sticky dough. Stir in the chocolate chips. Then very gently fold in the other additions (remember you can add whatever you like!)
  5. Roll into golf ball sized rounds and slightly flatten. I like to press a pretzels piece into the top of each one.
  6. Place spread apart onto the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes until turning slightly golden around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets until they’ve firmed up and then move to a wire rack to enjoy.
  7. These will last for a good few days in a sealed container.

Cinnamon sugar cookies aka snickerdoodles

Don’t you just love the sweet spicy scent of cinnamon? There’s something so warm and inviting about this woody spice, especially when it’s baking in the oven, it makes the house smell like heaven.

Snickerdoodles are a big thing in the USA but until I started fanatically reading recipe books I’d never really come across them in the UK, although I can’t fathom why because they really are a rather superior cookie. Picture if you will, a soft sweet cinnamon scented cookie with crisp chewy edges that has been rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking, giving a crisp spiced sugary shell. See, they really should be a regular feature in the cookie top ten in any country!

For a rather delicious and exciting variation, sandwich two together with some Lotus Biscoff spread and you have a spiced sandwich biscuit of your dreams 🙂

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies aka Snickerdoodles

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 18

180g dairy-free margarine

150g caster sugar

50g soft, light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp ground cinnamon

300g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 and 1/2 tsps cream of tartar

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

to roll the cookies in;

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade fan, 200 degrees non-fan. Line two cookie sheets with non-stick parchment
  2. Cream together the margarine, caster and soft brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate, salt and milk and gently bring together to form a soft dough.
  4. Roll large marble sized balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar, place well spaced on the lined cookie sheets and lightly press down.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed up and golden. cool for a couple on minutes on the trays before moving to a wire rack.
  6. store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Homemade chocolate cookie selection box

Those pretty selection boxes of chocolates or cookies always look so tempting. I think they’re often a little disappointing but they always look like you want to dive in and choose some sweet delight.

Since my mission is always to recreate those delicacies that are not available if you’re avoiding certain foods and so a selection box had to be there! While you can get some free from chocolate boxes these days, I have never seen a friendly biscuit selection box. In fact biscuits are one of the hardest products to buy if you’re dairy, egg and nut free. Most free-from varieties are gluten-free and dairy free but then contain egg. Then the standard biscuits contain milk or traces, and nuts seem to pop up everywhere.

In an ideal world this box would have more variety, but since you can make all of these 4 varieties in just a few more minutes than making a single type, you can have a selection in no time at all! By all means add other fillings, but I find the marshmallow filled cookies are always some of the most requested, plus biscoff and chocolate is such a fantastic combination I just had to add that.

Chocolate Cookie Selection Box

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 16 cookies

30g soft brown sugar (1/4 cup)
150g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
150ml cup sunflower oil, or other flavourless oil (2/3 cup)
60ml dairy-free milk (1/4 cup)
1 tbsp cornflour
190g cups plain flour (1 and 1/2 cups)
25g cup cocoa powder (1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt

for the centres/flavours:
25g cup dairy-free choc chips, 2 marshmallows, halved, 2 tsp biscoff spread,12g white choc chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 3. 
  2. Whisk together the oil, milk, sugars, and cornflour. It will combine to form a smooth caramel.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt. Mix well.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips
  5. Divide the mix into 4. Add white chocolate chips to one quarter.
  6. Roll each mix into tbsp sized balls.
  7. For the filled versions, flatten each ball and place the filling in the centre, then ring up the edges so the filling is completely surrounded by the dough.
  8. Place all the balls slightly apart on the lined baking sheets and flatten a little.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes
  10. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Chocolate and Candy Cane Biscuits

I’ve seen a lot of tempting bakes using candy canes this winter. There’s something about the eye catching red and white stripes that really sand out and make these bakes look all the more tempting.

I initially had visions of rolling chocolate truffles in crushed up candy canes but sadly the canes were a bit too soft and sticky once crushed and it didn’t work out. Then this idea popped into my mind – dark, cocoa rich cookies dipped in snowy white chocolate and then sprinkled with the crushed up candy canes. It turns out that it was a great idea – the flavours really work – bitter, sweet, smooth with crunchy bits that have a hint of peppermint. A bit like an after eight mint in cookie form! These could now be one of my favourite festive after dinner treats. 

For those who are less keen on a minty flavour profile, then these work just as well as simple white chocolate dipped chocolate cookies and decorated with some pretty sprinkles.

Chocolate and Candy Cane Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

makes 15-20

  • 115g or 1 cup of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsps cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 55g or 1/4 cup hard vegetable fat 
  • 55g or 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine 
  • 100g or 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 30g dairy-free white chocolate
  • 1-2 candy canes, crushed and/or Christmas themed decorations
  1.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, cornflour, salt and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the fat, margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and whisk again.
  3. Add the flour mix and carefully combine
  4. Roll out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, small rectangles work well.
  5. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes
  6. Cool on the sheet before moving to a wire rack.
  7. Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie and half dip each cookie into the melted chocolate
  8. Place back onto the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with decorations or crushed up candy canes and leave to set

Pepparkakor – Swedish Ginger Thins

I always love a cooking challenge and so was happy to be asked for a Pepparkakor recipe. These Swedish Ginger thins are a Scandinavian Christmas must have and rightly deserve a place on my site.

I’ve only had the Anna brand ones, those very thin crisp flower shapes biscuits often found in health food shops. They always make me think fondly of my step-Grandmother who would always buy Anna’s Ginger thins and a variety of dried fruit for my girls to graze on when they were tiny. She was always very kind to me and made such an effort to cater for us, despite the dietary challenges.

These pepparkakor are a little less thin and crisp and not so dark in colour as I only had syrup available rather than the syrup and treacle required. But the spice is spot on and they make a lovely addition to the Christmas spread.

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Thins)

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 16-20

125g dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

50g caster sugar

40g soft-brown sugar

50g golden syrup (or ideally 25g treacle and 25g syrup)

35ml water

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

  1. Cream together the margarine, sugar and spices.
  2. Melt the syrup (or syrup and treacle) into the water
  3. Add the syrup mix and flour, bicarb and salt to the creamed margarine and mix to a soft dough.
  4. wrap and rest for a couple of hours in the fridge
  5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade
  6. Roll out the dough to 2-3mm thick and stamp out festive shapes.
  7. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes until golden
  8. Cool on a wire rack
  9. These are best iced but if you don’t have time (like me) a little dusting of icing sugar is nice too 🙂

Ginger Cream Yo-Yo Biscuits

Woo hoo, it’s December! After the longest year in living memory we’re finally getting to the fun end bit. I’m going to try and add some extra cheer to this festive season (and my, we need some extra cheer this year!) with an exciting ‘12 days of Blogmas’ and a whole bunch of new delicious festive recipes.

There is something so exciting about all the baking opportunities in the lead up to Christmas – I just love making sparkly tasty treats and beautifully packaged homemade gifts. Well, who doesn’t like some extra sparkle and glitter?

Like lots of people, we’ve decided to do Christmas big time this year, all whilst remaining in our little family bubble. That means less large family gatherings and more Christmas themed food, fun games and decorating big time!!

I’m kicking off Day 1 of ‘Blogmas’ with  these delightful ginger cream yo-yo biscuits. Heavily spiced crumbly biscuits sandwiches together with a lemon scented cheesecake cream. What’s not to like with that combination? These are a perfect start to December, ideally enjoyed with a steaming hot drink and sitting by a roaring open fire.

Ginger Cream Yo-yo Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 12 sandwich biscuits

150g dairy-free margarine

65g soft brown sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

pinch of salt

55g custard powder or cornflour

175g plain flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
  3. Beat together the margarine, sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Sift in the flours, spice and salt to form a very soft, but not sticky dough.
  5. Make large marble sized balls and place on the baking sheet (try to make an even number). Flatten with the back of a fork.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes
  7. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cool, sandwich together with the cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Cream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

25g dairy-free cream cheese

40g dairy-free margarine

200g icing sugar

zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Whisk the margarine and cream cheese with the icing sugar, zest and juice until it is all incorporated. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.