My little baking children and biscuits made with felt. You can get the patterns and instructions in my new book, Mini Felt Christmas!
The Great British Bake Off is on again! Don’t we love that show? I love it.
For those who are not too familiar with it, it is a British television competition in which a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds. They attempt to impress two judges and one contestant is eliminated each week.
The show has become a significant part of British culture now. It has reinvigorated interest in baking throughout the United Kingdom and many of its participants, including winners, have gone on to start a career based on the bakery.I don’t do much baking since my older son has gone to uni, but the show does make me want to do a bit of baking myself.
I have a rather frugal approach to baking. For me, it is often a way to consume ingredients we are struggling to consume. I improvise recipes or make up my own. I have to admit the outcome isn’t always perfect, however, there have been some pleasant surprises.
Like this one. I call it Cream cheese soft cutouts.
This is what I used
80g light cream cheese
100g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1. Beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer for 1 min.
2. Add egg. Add rest of the dry ingredients little by little and beat until combined.
3. Separate dough in two and wrap each dough in cling films. Chill for 1 hour.
4. Roll out the dough to 5mm thickness between two cling films. Cut out shapes.
5. Bake in the 375 C oven for 8 mins.
The ingredients do not have to be exactly the same as above. You can use salted butter and the cream cheese can be full fat. I used self-rising flour because that was what I had in the cupboard. It goes the same for the sugar. It can be all white.
If you bake just under 10 mins or until the edges are slightly brown, it is soft and moist biscuits. You can enjoy another version by simply leaving them in the oven longer until the surface is completely brown. Biscuits become more crispy on the outside, but still soft in the centre. It was another lucky discovery by accident. (I forgot to set the timer!)
I made them with my son. We loved the both versions.
My original intention was to slice the dough as icebox cookies, but unfortunately, the dough was a little too soft. If you do not want to bother using cookie cutters, you can cut into squares after the dough is rolled out.
This was to use up the cream cheese sitting in the fridge, but we may end up buying another tub to make these biscuits again!
When I was a child, very few households had an oven in Japan. Baking tools are hard to come by, too, but one day, one of my classmates brought handmade cutout cookies to school. They were heart shaped just like these. I could not believe you could make something like that at home! I cannot tell you how envious I was.
Home cooking and baking is to feed your family safe and healthy food, but I think it is also to create precious memories for your children. Because we have easy access to pretty much any kind of foods, our kids may have been deprived of surprises and excitement of discovering new tastes. My sons once said that I had much more interesting childhood than theirs.
But I hope I have created some happy memories of cooking with them, too.