The Boy Makes…..Cut Out Biscuits

Like most nurseries (I guess), Oscar’s preschool celebrates each and every birthday in their midst. They invite the parents of the birthday child to come in and watch their child’s special day be celebrated by their friends (my guy’s school also carries out something of a rather abstract birthday ritual. The child carries a globe round a circle of children as many times as they are years old, whilst they all sing a song about the world. Yeah I’m not sure either, but the kids seem to like it). Said parents are also invited to provide a little treat for the children. I was so excited when I heard about this. What a lovely thing to be able to do and it was definitely something Oscar and I could prepare together. However, as is to be expected, the nursery have pupils with all kinds of specific dietary requirements. Oscar himself eats gluten free and he has a little pal who has a serious broad spectrum nut allergy. Meaning anything we chose to make had to be pretty well thought through. To the Googles!

As Oscar got so many lovely cookie cutters for his birthday, I decided it would be fun to let him try them out. That’s when I found a great biscuit recipe on the American site Momables.com. It was written to be purely gluten free however, I checked with Oscar’s pal’s mum and found the recipe was also completely free of nut contaminants too. Perfect.

A simple recipe

A simple recipe

I followed the original recipe, which being American, was measured in cups. However, because I’m nice like that, I have converted it to grams here for the baker who favours the scales.

  • 200g sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour already has it, mine didn’t)
  • 250g gluten-free plain flour

I use Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour and Xanthan Gum to great effect. You could also add spice such as cinnamon, if you were making these near Christmas

I used my Kitchenaid mixer, but you could do this by hand

  1. Cream the sugar and butter together
  2. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract and salt mixing well
  3. Add flour and xanthan gum if using. Mix at a low speed until well combined. Dough should come together well and not be too sticky.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour
  5. Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 5 and cover two baking sheets with baking paper
  6. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, as thick as you want. Mine were about 0.25cm.
  7. Cut out the dough with cookie cutters, and place the biscuits on the baking sheets. Ensure the cookies are not touching.
  8. Re-roll and re-cut dough until it’s all used
  9. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a cooling rack.
  10. Cool completely before decorating. If you’re so inclined. They’re lovely with or without decoration
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Add butter to sugar

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The boy loves turning on the KitchenAid

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Scrape that dough down!

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Using his birthday cutters from his Aunty & Uncle

In the end I chose to make all heart biscuits as I reckoned they were a decent size. I got 24 out of this recipe, plus a handful of the smaller shapes you can see Oscar cutting above.

I decided to “decorate” them with a simple water icing. Unfortunately I had to do this when Oscar was in bed, but I totally plan to let him have a go next time! I think I used around 60g of icing sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water mixed to make a smooth paste, runny enough to drizzle. I used a couple of drops of Wilton colouring to get the amazing blue, then just drizzled the icing from the end of a spoon onto the biscuits at an angle. It did take a while to dry though so be factor this in when planning timings.

Lay the biscuits on baking paper before drizzling the icing over the biscuits. Leave until they are totally dry.

Lay the biscuits on baking paper before drizzling the icing over the biscuits. Leave until they are totally dry then lift them off and throw the paper away. No messy clean up!

They went down a treat with Oscar and all his pals. As one of his little friends told her mum “they had blue on them and they were yum”. What more could you ask for?!

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Gluten Free Biscuits – Happy Birthday Oscar

 

 

BakedPotato Mummy
Free From Farmhouse

The way the cookie crumbles

Since I was a little girl I’ve loved baking. I may have mentioned this before 😉 . My first foray into the kitchen was an independently made Victoria Sandwich at around the age of 7 and I’ve never looked back. Of late my baking has taken something of a back seat, due to a focus on healthy eating and losing weight, but I still love and occasionally miss the process of taking a seemingly innocuous bunch of ingredients and turning them in to something that look, smell and taste amazing.

Last week we had a couple of days where the weather wasn’t so great and decided to stay indoors, not something you do lightly with a ball of energy toddler. First plan was to make a new batch of Moon Sand (our first attempt at which I wrote about here). This time however Oscar showed much more interest in the actual process of making it. To the point where I got him a chair, pulled it up to the work surface and let him pour the cornflour in to the pan. He even, after a while, gave the whole thing a stir. He was mesmerised by the process and that got me thinking.

On Thursday it snowed. Not particularly badly, but enough to stop this wimp of a mother wanting to go out and so I decided to let the boy have a crack at baking. I chose a recipe that utilised what I had in the house (which did not include eggs. I know, eggless baking? Challenge accepted!) I found this recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies over on the blog, TransatlanticBlonde, whose son is allergic to eggs. It was a great one to start Oscar on, as the measurements were in cups, which needs minimal fuss (although I can’t help it, I prefer grams and scales. I guess it’s just what you’re used to). We switched the plain flour for Dove Farm gluten free plain flour (as Oscar is eating GF at the moment) and left out the vanilla (as we didn’t have any!) Any who, I scooped the ingredients out and Oscar poured them into my giant Maslin pan. I chose to use this rather than a mixing bowl because of its wide base and large capacity, meaning Oscar could really see what was going on as the mixture took shape.

Adding ingredients

Adding ingredients

Enjoying the process

Enjoying the process

And look at what was going on, he really did. I can honestly say I’ve never seen him so attentive to an activity we’ve done together. And we really did do it together. I’d measure, he’d pour and we’d stir. He was even repeating words I was saying, such as “OK, “so” and “now”. Believe it or not he even had a crack at “Cinnamon”! At no point did he get bored or look away or want to do things ‘his way’. Even when I was scooping the mixture onto the baking sheets, he watched until the very last one was done and in the oven. And he watched as I took them out the oven, interested in what happens now. And when I let him have one, well… Let’s just say his new word of the week is “cookie”!

Egg free, gluten free, oatmeal raisin cookies

Egg free, gluten free, oatmeal raisin cookies

I never expected baking to be such a resounding success with my boy, but that’s the thing I guess. You never know until you try. It’s been such as success in fact that we’ve just made another batch, using a (slightly more complicated) recipe from Jamie Oliver. He was just as involved and interested as the first time round. And really what could be more gratifying than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pan and having cookies come out at the end?

I think we may have found a shared love. I can’t wait til he’s old enough to stay up for Bake Off with me!

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Gluten free Oat and Raisin Cookies

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A shared love

 

 

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BakedPotato Mummy
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