By now you’ve probably heard of the Great British Baking Show (or Great British Bake Off if you’re in England).
It’s a fun, laid-back baking competition filled with beautiful bakes and some silly innuendoes. The two judges are two prominent British bakers/chefs, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
In my opinion, Mary Berry is a British national treasure. I just love her. She’s funny and a little sassy and she and Paul Hollywood play off each other perfectly.
They’ve tried to recreate the show over here. It didn’t work. It was hard to watch.
I have a book of her’s filled with 100 recipes for bakes and cakes. I was looking for a killer shortbread recipe and I stumbled upon her recipe for “The Very Best Shortbread”.
I’m always skeptical when something is called “the very best…”. But this is Mary Berry, national treasure, and she has never steered me wrong before so I made her shortbread.
Best decision I’ve ever made.
These are perfectly buttery and have a little extra crunch because she uses a combination of flour and semolina.
The Very Best Shortbread:
A Mary Berry Recipe
You’ll need a 12″ x 9″ roasting pan or two 8″ x 8″ cakes pans
- 8 oz. all-purpose flour
- 4 oz. semolina
- 8 oz. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 4 oz. sugar
- 1 oz. raw sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 285°F. Lightly grease your pan(s).
- Mix together the flour and semolina in a bowl. Add the butter and sugar and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture is just beginning to bind together. Knead lightly until the mixture forms a smooth dough.
- Press the dough into the prepared pans and level with the back of a spatula or a palette life, making sure the mixture is evenly spread. Prick all over with a fork and chill until firm.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a very pale golden brown. Sprinkle with the raw sugar and leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then cut into fingers. Carefully lift the fingers out of the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Can you really call it the holiday season if the smell of ginger isn’t filling your kitchen?
Last year, I gave you a recipe for my gingerbread cookies — cookies that I bake every holiday season without fail. They’ll be making another appearance in my kitchen within the next couple of weeks without a doubt.
I like these ginger cookies because they come out looking cracked and rustic, with a nice dusting of sugar on top. They have slightly crisp edges and are delightfully soft in the middle.
I’ve found that a lot of ginger cookies don’t have much of a ginger taste to them. I upped the ante with these guys, including both ground ginger and chopped candied ginger. You’ll know you’re eating a ginger cookie, but the taste isn’t overwhelming.
Ginger cookies for everyone!
Makes 3 1/2 – 4 dozen cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup molasses (dark)
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. diced candied ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Sugar, for dipping
- Mix sugar, shortening, molasses and egg together in a bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, both gingers, cinnamon and salt. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls and dip the tops in sugar. Place ginger dough balls, sugar side up on a parchment lined baking sheet, a couple of inches apart. Bake until edges are set (centres will be soft), about 10-12 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
“When I go make sure I’m wearing green & gold”
I first made these cupcakes pre-blog when the Timbers got to the Western Conference Final back in 2013. This year we’ve defied the odds and are ending the season in the MLS Cup Final on Sunday. For a team with such deep-rooted soccer history with the most passionate fan base in all of North America (I’m talking about you, Timbers Army), this is a big deal.
The Timbers have been around for 40 years, but only became a professional MLS team 5 years ago and this will be the team’s first appearance in the cup final.
This year the team has overcome injuries, an up-and-down season and a ridiculous 11 round penalty shootout to get to the final where they’ll face the Columbus Crew in Columbus, Ohio.
To celebrate, these slightly chocolatey chocolate chip cupcakes with green & gold frosting are making their second appearance in my kitchen.
In order to get the green & gold swirl frosting, I put green frosting in one small piping bag, gold frosting in another, then placed both of them in a larger piping bag and piped them out together. Feel free to pipe one colour on top of the other if you’d prefer that.
Green & Gold Timbers Cupcakes:
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium size bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add butter and sugar, then mix until light and fluffy.
- Add milk and flour, stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips and cocoa powder and stir through the mixture. Beat until light and creamy.
- Divide mixture between cupcake liners (depending on how full you fill them, between 12 and fifteen liners). Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, stick a toothpick in the middle to make sure they’re cooked through. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool fully before frosting.
- Combine butter and powdered sugar. Add cream and vanilla and combine.
- Divide frosting in half and colour one half yellow and one half green (I used gel food colouring).
- Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.