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Oat & Almond Snack Bars

No-bake, soft, yet crunchy bars with a perfect balance of protein, carbs and healthy fat to provide fibre, goodness and sustained energy for all the active members of your family!   Individually wrapped in cling wrap or good quality wax paper, these bars make excellent portable snacks to enjoy at any time. Perfect for lunchboxes or the three o’clock snack attack. Continue reading Oat & Almond Snack Bars

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Biscotti

Every home should permanently have a jar of Biscotti in the kitchen! Best biscuits ever to nibble or dunk in coffee or as the Italians do, in sherry or wine! Thanks to the clever Italians! New style biscotti are light, crisp and irresistible and have gained popularity worldwide! These Italian “biscuits” were traditionally hard and dry and to become palatable, they were dipped into dessert wine or after dinner cappuccino. Currently many delightful variations are made which can be nibbled on as is, at any time of the day! And best of all, they are not difficult to make at home!

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Fancy festive Mexican biscuits made for special occasions.

250 g/250 ml butter, slightly softened
100 g/125 ml sugar
280 g/500 ml cake flour
5 ml ground cinnamon
7 ml vanilla essence
± 15 ml water
100 g/250 ml pecan nuts, coarsely chopped
± 125 ml icing sugar to coat

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and line 2 large baking trays and with Wizbake baking sheets.
  2. Place the butter or margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl and  beat until creamed.
  3. Add the flour, cinnamon, vanilla and nuts and mix until a dough is formed, adding a few drops water as necessary to bind the dough.
  4. Break off walnut size portions of dough and roll into little ropes as thick as a little finger and with slightly tapered ends. Form into crescents and place onto baking trays.
  5. Alternatively, roll into walnut-sized balls.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Cool until firm and dust and coat with icing sugar.
  8. Store in airtight containers for up to a month.

Makes about 24 biscuits, depending on size.

Variation
Place sesame seeds onto a shallow plate, coat the balls with seeds and roll between the palms of the hands into little ropes before placing them onto baking trays.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Florentines

A Florentine biscuit is a French pastry that is erroneously attributed to Italian cuisine. The Florentine was first made in France at the Palace of Versailles by the king’s top pastry chefs for visiting in-laws, the Medici family of Florence.  Due to these close ties to Florence, it is not surprising that the French named this popular delicacy after the capital of Tuscany, Italy.  Florentines are made of nuts (most typically hazel and almond) and candied cherries mixed with sugar or honey and butter and baked in the oven.  They are often coated on the bottom with chocolate. Other types of candied fruit are used as well.  This recipe is a simplified version of authentic florentines.

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Brazil Nut and Cherry Rusks

A baked sponge base is cut into fingers and dried out (biscotti-style) to make delicious but no too sweet spongy biscuits to nibble on or dip into tea or coffee.

4 large eggs
1 cup (250 ml) white sugar
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) cake flour
1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
1/3 cup (75 ml) brazil nuts cut up into slivers
1/3 cup (75 ml ) red glace cherries, finely chopped
½ cup (125 ml) sunflower or light olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a large baking tray (± 38 x 28 cm) with baking paper and grease well with butter or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Beat together the eggs, sugar and salt very well for at least 5 minutes until thick and pale yellow.
  3. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, nuts and cherries over the mixture and beat gently just until combined.
  4. Add the oil, water and flavouring and mix lightly.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, spread evenly and bake about 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
  6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and cut into± 3 cm wide strips lengthwise and then crosswise into fingers ± 7 cm in length.
  7. Arrange the biscotti slightly apart onto baking trays and dry out for about  3 hours at 100 ºC until crisp and dry.
  8. Place a spoon in the oven door to keep it ajar and allow moisture to escape while drying.
  9. Cool and store airtight.

Makes approx 60 sponge fingers (± 3 cm x 8 cm)

Recipe by Carolie de Koster.

Brazil nut and cherry biscotti fingers

 

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Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Rusks

The simplicity of the method for these outstanding rusks is most appealing.

1 kg self-raising flour
100 g / 125 ml sugar
5 ml salt
100 g/175 ml chocolate chips OR 1 x 100 g slab of chocolate, coarsely chopped
100 g macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
750 ml cream
± 250 ml additional buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and grease 2 loaf tins (26 cm) generously with butter. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Beat together the eggs and 750 ml cream and reserve 30 ml to glaze the rusks.
  3. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix lightly while adding enough of the remaining cream or buttermilk to form a dough which is just comfortable to handle –  neither firm nor soft.
  4. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes until smooth.  Pinch off golf-ball size portions, roll into slightly elongated shapes and pack in neat rows, just touching comfortably into the greased tins.
  5. Mix the reserved egg and cream with a little extra water and brush over the tops of the rusks to glaze.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm and a metal skewer comes out clean if inserted into the centre of the baked loaf.
  7. Cool in the tins for a few minutes and turn out carefully onto a cooling rack.  Turn over and cool at least 2 hours before separating into rusks with the tongs of a fork – for a natural appearance.
  8. Pack loosely on baking trays and dry out in the oven at 60 °C for 5to 6 hours with a spoon positioned in such a way that the door remains slightly open while drying to allow moisture to escape. When quite dry, cool and pack in airtight containers to store for up to a month.

Makes about 100 average rusks.

Note Turn down the heat slightly if the top browns too much or too soon and cover loosely with aluminium foil.

Variations 

Plain rusks
Omit nuts and chocolate, use 200 g / 250 ml sugar and add 10 ml aniseed if preferred.

Seeded Rusks
Omit chocolate and nuts, use 200g / 250 ml sugar and add ± 250 ml combined  seeds (sesame, poppy, sunflower and linseeds) to the dry ingredients.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

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Bran Rusks With Nuts, Seeds & Fruit

Start the day with these crunchy, tasty, health rusks. Dunk into tea or coffee or use to nibble on at any time of the day.

1½ – 2 cups (375 – 500ml) sugar
4 ½ cups (1,125ml) cake flour
4 ½ cups (1,125ml) digestive bran
2 tbsp (30ml) baking powder
1 ½ tsp (7,5ml) salt
¼ – ½ cup (60 – 125ml) seedless raisins (optional
1 cup (250ml) sunflower seeds
½ cup (125ml) pumpkin seeds
½ cup (125ml) linseeds and / or sesame seeds
½ cup (125ml) coarsely chopped nuts such as brazils, pecans or walnuts
400 g butter or margarine, melted but not hot
2 tsp (10ml) bicarbonate of soda
¼ cup (60ml) vinegar
1½ cups (625ml) milk

  1. Grease a large roasting dish (40 x 30 cm) with butter or margarine and pre-heat the oven to 180 ºC.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  3. Mix the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and add to the dry ingredients together with the melted butter. Mix well and turn out into the oven baking tray.
  4. Bake the rusks about 45 minutes or until firm to the touch and nicely browned but not too dark or dry.
  5. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting into fingers.
  6. Pack slightly apart onto a baking tray and place into the oven with the door slightly open to allow moisture to escape. Keep the door open with a spoon if necessary.
  7. Dry out the rusks in a very cool oven set between 70 ºC for 5 to 6 hours or until completely dry.
  8. Store in airtight containers.

Makes about 50 rusks depending on size.

The rusks in the photo below are ready to be cut into fingers.  It was made with a halved recipe in a large bread pan (40 cm x 12 cm).

Nutty Bran & Seed Rusks

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Sunflower, Oat & Cranberry Biscuits

A delicious nut-free biscuit that is definitely worth a try!

125 g butter, room temperature
125 ml honey
1 extra large egg
2.5 ml vanilla essence
500 ml oats
250 ml wholewheat flour/Nutty Wheat
2.5 ml bicarbonate of soda
2.5 ml cinnamon
A pinch of salt
180 ml Montagu cranberries
250 ml Montagu sunflower seeds
90 g white chocolate, melted

  1. Beat together the butter and honey for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute or until smooth.
  3. Combine oats, flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the cranberries and sunflower seeds and mix until well combined.
  5. Shape into walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Use a fork to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 175°C for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
  8. Drizzle with melted chocolate and set aside until the chocolate has set.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 30

Variations:

  • Use chopped apricots or pears instead of cranberries
  • Drizzle with dark chocolate instead of white chocolate.

montagu 009

Recipe and photo supplied by Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts.

 

 

 

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Pecan & Apricot Shortbread

The addition of fruit and nuts in this recipe makes this shortbread extra tasty!

250 g butter, room temperature
250 ml icing sugar
125 ml corn flour
1 extra large egg yolk
2.5 ml vanilla essence
625 ml cake flour
5 ml baking powder
A pinch of salt
100 g Montagu royal apricots, finely chopped
100 g Montagu pecan nuts, finely chopped
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Use an electric hand mixer and beat the butter until light in colour.
  2. Sift the icing sugar and corn flour together. Add little by little to the butter and beat well after each addition.
  3. Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and blend in.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  5. Add to the butter mixture together with the apricots and pecan nuts and mix until well combined.
  6. Press mixture together to form a ball of dough. Refrigerate to firm.
  7. Roll into small balls and place on baking sheets lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
  10. Dust with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 60

Variations: Use almonds instead of pecan nuts and chopped nectarines or figs instead of apricots.

montagu 003

Recipe and photo supplied by Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts.

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Wheat-free Rusks or Biscotti

This light and delicious sponge base can be baked as sponge cake layers, as cup cakes or cut into fingers and dried out to make low-fat rusks or biscotti-style biscuits.  Add any typical  ingredients to flavour the biscotti. A combination of 75 ml chopped pecan nuts or sunflower seeds and red cherries makes a delicious biscuit cum rusk.     

Continue reading Wheat-free Rusks or Biscotti