Saturday, 14 December 2013

Chocolate Orange Cookies

We had friends round for coffee and cake this week, so after I'd made my favourite Lemon Drizzle Cake, I thought I'd make a few biscuits for our son D too, and I have to say these are yummy.  The recipe is from an old book of mine - The Best of Baking, from 1979.  Some cookery books stand the test of time and I have made a number of the recipes - it is primarily a cakes and cookies type book - over the years and never had a failure.  It has a very good selection of Christmas baking from around the world, from American Ginger Slices to Swedish Yule Biscuits, Norwegian Christmas Rings to Viennese Vanilla Crescents. From this book came the recipe for the Spicy Meat Pie, which I made both for our Wedding feast, back in 1988, various Christmas feasts, and also for the Wake after my mum's funeral.  I may make it again for Christmas this year, as we have G's boyfriend here.

 I make this pie with all the leafy embellishments on the top too (that's the fun part) and it is a very tasty cold pie to offer at any time of the year.

Anyway, here's the recipe for the biscuits:

100g/4 oz plain chocolate (I used a bar of the 70% orange chocolate from Lidl for extra orange effect)
125g/4 1/2 oz. butter or margarine
125g/4 1/2 oz castor sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
grated rind of 1 orange (well washed first to remove pesticides)
200g/7 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Icing (I didn't bother with this)

100g/4 oz icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons orange juice

Coarsely grate the chocolate (this took forever, even using my little ancient Moulinex grater with a handle.  Note: glad I hung on to this throughout my marriage as they are £13+ in T*sco now!)  Beat the butter or margarine with the sugar, salt, egg and orange rind.  Sift in the flour with the baking powder, add the grated chocolate and quickly knead all the ingredients to a workable dough.  Form into a ball, wrap in foil or cling film and leave for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to moderately hot (200 deg. C, 400 deg. F, Gas mark 6).  Roll out the dough on a floured board to 5mm (1/4 inch thick and cut out rounds 5cm/2 inches in diameter.  Place on greased baking trays, allowing room for spreading, and bake for 10 - 15 mins.  Carefully remove fro the baking trays with a palette knife and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Sift the icing sugar and stir in the orange juice until smooth. Spread this icin over the top of the cookies and leave to set.

These are lovely biscuits with a real orangey flavour, and not too sweet.

I spent most of yesterday sewing stuff by hand, a fact NOT appreciated by my ageing knuckles come bed time, and I was glad to push my quilting needle into the Christmas wallhanging and head to bed.

Last weekend I bought some lovely vintage Laura Ashley curtains (c.1983).  They were obviously made up in a Posh Shop, as they have a thermal lining and weights. It was the fleecy thermal lining which made my hand sore as I had to really push the needle through and had to wear my thimble.  Ideally they could do with new linings, as the original ones are a bit tanned in stripes by years of sunlight, but having discovered they don't fit my kitchen window (too big for once) I am going to list them on ebay  as they are.  I would never get back the expense and effort of buying the lining, ripping out the old ones and refitting the new ones, plus restitching the heading tape.  I'll leave that job for whoever buys them.  I'm now trying to find the name of the pattern, as it's not one on the tip of my tongue.  Does anyone recognize it?

Finally, here's the Christmas wall hanging.  I was working on the central panel yesterday, but had to unpick some of the pears because it had got puckered from the lettering.  I am enjoying stitching this so much (being a hand stitcher by inclination) and quilting is something I have always enjoyed.

I've also been making home-made spice mixes - you know the sort of thing "Steak Seasoning", "Chicken Seasoning", "BBQ seasoning", using recipes from this brilliant book which I found for just £4.99 in the selection of books at Town and Country when we were in there last week pricing bird seed.  They always carry a good range of books much reduced from cover prices.  This one had my name written all over it, and I am looking forward to making some preserves as Christmas gifts using some of the recipes in it.

If anyone would like any of the seasoning recipes, or the recipe for the Spicy Meat Pie, just shout out.


  1. That is a lovely wall hanging, just love the zig-zaggy lettering. You seem happy in your kitchen baking away, the biscuits look yummy, but I'm going to try peanut biscuits soon.

  2. Have noted down the biscuit recipe but would love that pie recipe too.

  3. Thelma - I thought it looked pretty before I began sewing it, and now it looks een better. Enjoy your peanut biccies.

    Pat - I'll put the pie recipe up tomorrow.

  4. I have been catching up here and so enjoyed it. Your wallhanging is divine.

  5. Thanks Cait. Glad you've enjoyed catching up. I'm glad to be inside today, as it's grey and windy outside, and I wasn't even tempted to join my husband for a stroll along by the river (getting up the hill again put me off!)

  6. Lovely quilt, BB, the shimmery-ness entices. Climbing Back Up the hill can certainly be off-putting; there have been hikes that i have said no to for that same reason only I find the going down to be harder most of the time. Not sure why !~!

  7. My goodness if you made the spicy meat pie with the fancy crust I am very impressed.
    Crust aside I would love to see the recipe maybe I can google it.
    The cookies sound lovely.

    cheers, parsnip

  8. The biscuits sound so yummy and simple to make - certainly my style of baking. I will certainly see if I can get your baking book as it sounds very good.

  9. Here you are Elizabeth, it can be bought for just 1p on Amazon . . .

  10. Another one here for the spicy meat pie recipe please! Fantastic wall hanging, really captures the spirit of the season :)
    Lou x

  11. I like chocolate and oranges-but not together, however lemon drizzle cake is a favourite. Your wall hanging is just so pretty-well done. Sorry don't know the name of that pattern.

  12. The seasoning recipes would be fab thanks-

  13. Thanks for the biscuit recipe- I have made them for my December baking challenge [I've made one new recipe each month this year] and they taste scrummy.