Christmas cookies, Charity, CheeseBox and Currency

There is so much happening to me these days that I even have to categorize the events)

‘Christmas cookies’ stands for the recipe of amazing crispy honeysweet and spicy ginger cookies you will find in this post.

Christmas cookies_2

‘Charity’ stands for the reason I made the cookies and for a gorgeous girl Darya who works within a charity project Centre of equal opportunities Step Up. The cookies were sold at a Christmas charity fair and I really hope they helped to make someone’s life at least a tiny little bit better.

‘CheeseBox’ stands for the project I’d been working on for the last couple of months that we finally launched this week! CheeseBox is a super cosy and ‘with-all-my-heart’ kind of project. We’ve developed home cheese-making kits which allow you to easily and quickly prepare your own cheese right in your kitchen. It is super easy and fun! Plus some of the cheeses we actually don’t HAVE in our supermarkets anymore, so our CheeseBoxes may come in handy in this light, too ;). I’ll be definitely telling you more about the headway of CheeseBox in my upcoming posts. As for now you can visit our website http://www.cheese-box.com and I will really appreciate it if you tell me what you think about it! Unfortunately, the site is only in Russian as for now, but thank God we have GoogleTranslate 😉

‘Currency’ – well, RIP, rouble.  

And now back to the Christmas cookies recipe. It’s only 10 days till Christmas after all! I already have Christmas music playing on the background all the time no matter what I do. But can you blame me? One has to keep the holiday spirit alive even if everything around you is falling apart.

Christmas cookies_3

For the cookies you will need:

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 70 ml honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

Mix flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices (ginger, cinnamon and cloves) in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl mix butter, brown and vanilla sugar and an egg until smooth. Mix in honey and orange zest.

Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well (you will need to fold the dough with your hands at some point, as it’s going to be quite stiff).

Wrap the dough in plastic and let it sit at a room temperature for a couple of hours.

Preheat your oven to 190ºC.

Roll the dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper, take off the top piece of paper, transfer the bottom piece of paper with the dough onto a tray and cut out the shapes you like (just cut them, don’t try to take them out). Now put the tray into your freezer for 5-10 min. Take it out – and now you can easily remove the cut-out cookies without breaking them. Put the cookies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and cook them for 8-12 min, until slightly brown.

Let the cookies chill and then decorate them any way you like)

Enjoy!

Christmas cookies

Winter Is Coming

So. It’s the 17th of October and it’s snowing.

That’s pretty much all I should probably say about weather but the snow has just bummed me out so much today that I will go on with the weather subject for just a little while.

There are usually 3 unquestionable signals indicating that the winter is coming to Moscow. Luckily, not the Game of Thrones kind of ‘Winter Is Coming’ with all the ‘white walkers and direwolves and constant massacre or whatever happens in the 9th episode of each season’ kind of stuff (yeah, I loooove the series, but can you blame me?). The 3 things that every winter starts with here in Moscow are (1) enormous traffic jams, (2) snowplow trucks that make the traffic even worse and (3) massive queues of people trying to change their tyres to snow ones (does anybody do that tyre-change twice a year except for Russians?). Well, there’s one more 100% indicator: women wearing fur, loooots of fur, but that’s kind of obvious, I guess. To cut a long story short – today I’ve witnessed all of the 3 main signals + some chicas in their ‘shubas’ (that’s how we call fur coats). So I can bindingly confirm that the winter has come to Moscow today. Wow. Kinda early, don’t you think?

Anyways, yesterday, being still unaware of the coming winter I made some incredible, gingery-chocolate-orange cookies (which was, a great idea by the way, as I wouldn’t have made it today without the cookies). Orange-chocolate-ginger cookies_1

The recipe is pretty much basic but it’s the combination of ginger, chocolate, orange and (!) mint-and-basil infused butter that makes the cookies so unusual and spicy and soft and so tremendously good.

To make these you will need:

  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 80 g rye-flour (you can stick to AP flour, this one just gives more texture)
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 50 g white sugar (add 2-3 tbsp more if you prefer the cookies to be more sweet)
  • 4 tbsp chocolate drops
  • 140 g butter
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • some fresh mint and basil

Orange-ginger-chocolate cokkies ingr

First prepare the mint-and-basil infused butter. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, then add basil and mint leaves in and heat the butter until it boils. Boil the butter with the herbs for 30 sec, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat, let it cool for 5-7 min and that take the mint and basil leaves out of the butter.

In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and sugar. Pour in the butter and stir well until the mix looks like small crumbs. Mix in the egg and then orange juice until the batter is smooth and a bit gloopy. Then mix in chocolate drops and orange zest until they are well distributed through the batter.

Cover a baking tray with a baking sheet. Form mid-size cookies (4-5 cm over) and place them on the tray, spacing each cookie 2-3 cm apart. Cover with a food wrap and put the cookies in a fridge for at least an hour (the batter would last for up to a week in your fridge). When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 200ºC and transfer the tray with the cookies right from the fridge to your oven. Bake for 12-15 mins until slightly browned.

Enjoy!

Orange-chocolate-ginger cookies_2