By Nicole Quy, The Croft Co-Editor in Chief
The Croft Magazine// I’m a huge fan of Easter food, notwithstanding that it coincides with the emergence (finally) of the sun and warmer weather. Easter baking, especially, is often characterised by sweetness, both in the sense of taste and the tweeness that often accompanies an array of Easter themed treats. Arguably a perfect combination.
Controversially, however, I've found that the older I get, the less craving I have for chocolate when it comes to baking. That’s not to say my sweet tooth is residing- there will, I imagine, be few culinary experiences in life that can trump the borderline sensual occasion of opening a bag of mini eggs. Is it the nostalgia or that faint vanilla aroma that just fills me with joy? It’s tough to say, but, having stayed in Germany for the majority of Easter season, and scouring, to no avail, for something even close to resembling these pocket pastel pieces of joy, I’m reassured of the fact that I am by no means getting sick of them.
That being said, for those of you who are looking to embrace the Easter spirit and whip up something sweet and comforting, but perhaps have had your fill of chocolate themed treats, I present to you: Spiced Easter Cookies. Chewy, brown sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg cookies, with a hint of citrus, and topped with a familiar sweet glaze.
This cookie recipe is a tried & tested, absolute fool-proof mix that I’ve tweaked over the years to create the perfect balance of sweetness, crunchiness, chewiness and crumbliness. Adapted on this occasion for a simnel-esque Easter spice taste, the base mix (minus spices) can be used all-year round, and with a variety of mix-ins, flavour combinations and toppings. I have no doubt that this will become your favourite cookie recipe. It’s simple, easy, and the results are delicious!
For the cookie dough:
100g caster sugar
120g brown muscovado sugar
125g butter, softened
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
100g raisins or sultanas
For the glaze:
3 tablespoons caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170° (150° for fan assisted). In a large mixing bowl, combine both sugars with the softened butter, and mix until fully incorporated and you have a smooth, silky mixture. Still mixing, add in a beaten egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The mixture should resemble cake batter at this point.
- Next, fold in the flour. I find it best to do this in two stages, adding in half of the flour and folding it into the mix, and adding the other half once fully incorporated. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and mix again.
- If you want to add any other mix-ins, do it now! Perhaps, you’re not yet sick of chocolate, in which case smashed mini eggs make a fabulous addition to this biscuit base, and white chocolate chunks compliment the spices of this mix very well; the possibilities are endless. Nevertheless, for this particular recipe, I’m going to be sticking with the conventional and delicious addition of plump dried fruit. Pour in your raisins and lemon zest, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the mix.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using your hands, grab a small handful of the mix and roll into a ball approximately halfway between the size of a ping pong ball and a tennis ball. Be careful not to overwork the mixture in your hands, or cracks could start to form. Place the ball down on the paper and press down with the palm of your hand to flatten them slightly, this will help the mix to spread more whilst baking. To avoid cookie collisions, place no more than 6 cookies on the tray at one time and bake in batches.
- For a really chewy, soft cookie, bake for around 9-11 minutes. For a slightly firmer, crunchier texture, bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove them from the tray. Do not worry if they seem very fragile, even undercooked when you initially remove them, the cookies will harden as they cool.
- Make the glaze by combining the sugar and water, and drizzle over the warm cookies.
These cookies will keep for up to 5 days on the side, and up to 7 days when stored in an airtight container (if you can keep them that long, that is). If the cookies start to become crunchy, here's a tip to help them regain that indulgent chewiness that, for me, really characterises a good homemade cookie: Take two slices of fresh, sliced bread (like Warburtons or Kingsmill; unfortunately sourdough, ciabatta, or baguettes won’t work) and pop them in a container with the cookies. Leave overnight and by the morning, your cookies will have absorbed the moisture from the bread, making them soft and chewy once again! Best enjoyed warm!
Featured Image by Nicole Quy
Will you try out this Easter bake? What's your go-to Easter Treat?