Shortcrust butter-free pastries

Shortcrust butter-free pastries

This dough is really the easiest to make, and quite versatile too.
Plus it has no butter in it – what’s best for a healthier and lighter breakfast or teatime treat?
This dough is the starting point for a lot of different cookies – in the picture above I filled it with Nutella, but you could put anything into it (such as jam, for example). You may want a chocolate-flavoured dough too, you just need to add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder.
I also made a few with an almond in the middle, and sprinkled them with brown sugar and icing sugar to decorate.
Ingredients are basic as well:
220 grams of plain flour
60 grams of vegetable oil
70 grams of sugar
Half a tsp of baking powder
1 egg
… and this is it!
Put in a bowl the egg and the sugar and mix it well with the help of a fork. Then all’s well mixed, add the oil and the baking powder. Stir again. Then start to add the flour, little by little. When the dough is elastic and doesn’t stick to your fingers any more, it is ready.
With a rolling pin knead the dough, about 1 cm high (or less if you want to fill the cookies with anything) and put into a preheated oven (180 degrees) for some fifteen minutes.
This dough is great even for fruit tarts.

Vanillekipferl

Vanillekipferl

There are things that are born almost by chancem but then take a life on their own… this is the case with this Advent period. I was looking back to my baking during the last weeks and I suddenly realized that I have taken up this trend of baking traditional cookies/cakes from all over the world.. well, Europe maily I must say, but it’s not over yet!
Today’s recipe is Vanillekipferl from Austria.
They’re really good and easy to make, and they’re the perfect matcj for a steamy, creamy cup of chocolate.
You just need:
200 gr plain flour
100 gr sugar
70 gr grain hazelnuts (or almonds)
120 gr butter
1 egg
1/2 vanilla bean (or vanilla aroma if you can’t find the bean)
icing sugar to dust on top
Put in a bowl the flour with the sugar and the cold butter cut into pieces. Then add the egg, the vanilla, the grain hazelnuts and start kneading with your hands. When the dough is well mixed and smooth you can start taking some bits from it, mould it with your hands forming a little cylinder and then put it onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper shaping it like a small croissant.
Then bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Once they’ve cooled down, sprinkle with icing sugar and taste!

Fresh ginger cookies

Fresh ginger cookies

Christmas time is cookies time! This time forget the famous gingerbread (I’ll make them too!) because these cookies are made with fresh ginger that I love! They’re super easy to make too, and this is another perk. I usually tend to avoid butter, but this time its creaminess is part of the symphony of flavours that these cookies ooze. There are several recipes around, I use this one:

Brown sugar 50 gr
Plain sugar 65 gr
Fresh ginger 50 gr
Almonds 50 gr
Butter at room temperature 125 gr
Lemon zest 1
All purposes flour 300 gr

Take a mixer and put into it the brown sugar and the almonds, and whisk until almonds turn into grains. Then add the peeled ginger cut in little pieces and whisk again until you get a creamy dough, that you can put into a bowl and mix with the butter (please don’t melt it into the microwave!). and then with the flour. When the dough becomes thick, continue to knead on a pastry board and then form a dough ball, cover it with film and let it rest into the fridge for an hour at least.
After that with the help of a rolling pin roll out the dough about 1 cm thick and cut your cookies the shape you like. Put the cookies onto the baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and bake them in a preheated over (180 degrees) for about 15/20 minutes. Please check well as they cook quite quickly – I usually start checking after 10 minutes just in case… As the quantities of this recipe are for about some twenty cookies it is likely you may need to bake two trays. In this case while the first tray is into the over, put the remaining cookies to be baked into the fridge until it’s time for them to be baked as well. In this way they will better keep their shape during baking. Enjoy!

Glutenfree cookies

Glutenfree cookies

After a while I’m back into my glutenfree cooking with these biscuits, whose recipe is quite traditional (you can find the ordinary version on the Il Cucchiaio D’Argento website). I had it changed a little because I wanted to use the glutenfree Mix C by Schaer, and I wanted them to be lighter (no butter in this version). Of course you can add butter, and in this case the proportion is Always 80/100 (i.e. 80 grams of oil for 100 grams of butter):

280 gr Mix C flour
75 gr brown sugar
100 gr vegetable oil
80 gr cold water acqua almeno ambiente (non calda o tiepida comunque)
the zest of half a lemon
half teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt
icing sugar for decoration

Put all the dry elements into a bowl, plus the lemon zest, and whisk, then add the oil. Whisk again until everything is amalgamated and then add the water in small quantities. The water should make the dough soft and relatively crumbly. So pay attention to this passage, if you use too much water you may end up having a sticky dough instead.
Put the dough into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes in wrapping film (form a ball).
Once the time has passed, gently knead again for a few minutes and then using a rolling pin roll the dough out (about half centimeter thick).
Use the dough cutter you prefer to cut the biscuits, then put them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about ten minutes.
Once they’ve cooled down, cover them with icing sugar.
You may want to cover them with chocolate (in this case melt the chocolate bar into the microwave and then dip the cookies into it) or use the jam the way I did in the picture above.
These cookies are delicious with tea.
…….. and they’re fit for vegans too!