Bringing real baking into your home with deliciously simple recipes.
Prep 20minBake 15-25 minMakes about 12 large cookies
This great basic cookie recipe (requiring only a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix) can be customised depending on your flavour and texture preferences… Choose from the suggested ingredients to add your twist and to personalise the cookies – the variation options are only limited by your imagination (and a little baking science)!
Base 125g salted butter, melted 110g (½ cup) caster sugar 110g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 1 egg 185g-225g plain flour (see Baker's Tips) ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Ingredients for flavour (choose at least 1) 1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence or extract or vanilla bean paste ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 orange, lemon or lime, zest finely grated Sea salt flakes, to taste
Ingredients for texture (choose at least 1) 100g chocolate (dark, milk, white or a combination) – 150g if not using nuts also 100g toasted nuts (macadamias, pecans, salted peanuts, peeled hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pistachios), coarsely chopped 150g Smarties or M&M's 100g soft caramels, chopped 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Add the egg (and vanilla and/or citrus zest if using) and beat with the wooden spoon until the mixture becomes pale, creamy and thickens slightly (this will take 1-2 minutes).
Sift together the flour (see Baker’s Tips) and bicarbonate of soda (and cinnamon if using). Add to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Add the chocolate, nuts, Smarties, M&M's and/or caramels and stir to combine evenly.
Roll 2 level tablespoonfuls (see Baker's Tips) of the cookie dough into balls and place on the lined oven tray about 10cm apart (see Baker's Tips).
Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Lift the baking tray on one side and let it fall back onto the oven rack 3 times (see Baker’s Tips). Sprinkle with coconut or finely chopped nuts if using. Bake for 5 minutes longer then lift the baking tray on one side and let it fall back onto the oven rack 3 times again. Bake for a further 5-15 minutes (see Baker’s Tips).
Cool the cookies on the trays for 5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
Using less flour (185g) will mean that your cookies will spread more and be thinner than if you use more flour (225g).
To bake smaller cookies, roll 1 tablespoon measure of dough into balls and place on the oven trays at least 7cm apart. Bake as per recipe.
You can use a small ice-cream scoop to scoop your cookie dough and place it straight onto the oven trays but you will find the cookies will be more evenly shaped if rolled before baking.
Chilling the balls of dough for 30 minutes before baking will give your cookies more contrast in texture between the centre and the outer edge.
Banging the trays on the oven racks during baking will give the cookies a ‘crinkled’ appearance once baked and will also be thinner than those that aren’t.
You can determine the texture of these cookies by adjusting the baking time. 15 minutes will give you a cookie with a soft, chewy centre and crisp outer; 20 minutes will give you a slightly soft centre and crisp outer; while 25 minutes will mean the cookies are crisp all the way through.
These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 140ºC (120°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a shallow 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slice tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Put the honey and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until well combined and heated through. Set aside.
Put the rolled oats, millet, coconut, cinnamon, cranberries, currants and almonds in a large bowl and mix to combine evenly. Add the honey mixture and stir to combine well. Using damp hands, press the mixture firmly into the lined tin. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make the surface smooth and even.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until the surface is dark golden brown all over. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into 24 bars with a sharp knife.
For a nut-free version, substitute the almonds with ⅓ cup sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
These muesli bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Alternatively they also freeze well for up to 3 months – wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw at room temperature.
For extra-crisp muesli bars, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Prep 25min (+30min chilling and 30min cooling time)Bake 25minMakes about 40
Sipping on malted milk milkshakes and playing dominos is a vivid childhood memory. These biscuits combine the two and kids will love not only creating them, but also playing with them as they snack — all you need is a glass of milk!
Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until smooth and just combined. Add the egg and beat until well combined.
Add the flour and malted milk powder to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined evenly and a dough forms.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and briefly until it just comes together. Divide the dough into two portion. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one portion to 5mm thick. Use a large sharp knife and a ruler to cut the dough into 4cm x 8cm rectangles; re-rolling any off cuts as necessary. Use the knife to make a shallow indent across the middle of each biscuit. Place on the lined oven trays, leaving about 2cm between each. Press the Choc Bits into the biscuits to resemble dominos. Repeat with the remaining dough portion and Choc Bits. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, swapping the trays around after 10 minutes, or until pale golden and cooked through. Cool on the trays.
These biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Based on a cake I have made for years as a wedding cake for friends, this recipe is incredibly simple but still has a wonderful celebratory feel. It also makes truly divine individual cakes like these sweet butterfly cakes.
Melted butter, to grease (optional) 200g good-quality white chocolate, chopped 150g unsalted butter, cubed 185ml (¾ cup) water 220g (1 cup) caster sugar 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked 1½ teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence 225g (1½ cup) plain flour 50g (½ cup) almond meal 1½ teaspoons baking powder 125ml (½ cup) thick (double) cream 165g (½ cup) raspberry or blackberry jam Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) capacity muffin tray with melted butter or line with paper cases.
Put the chocolate, butter and water in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until well combined.
In a medium bowl, use a clean whisk or fork to whisk together the flour, almond meal and baking powder, combining the ingredients evenly and breaking up any lumps of almond meal. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir with the whisk until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin holes and lightly tap the tin on the bench top to remove any large air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes to stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, cut a shallow cone-shaped piece out of the top of a cake, leaving about a 1cm border. Cut the piece of cake in half. Spoon a little cream and then some jam into the hole to fill. Arrange the two pieces of cake in the jam to form wings. Repeat with the remaining cakes, cream and jam. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
The unfilled cakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 2 days. Alternatively they will freeze well sealed in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature.
These cakes are best eaten the day they are filled.
Any recipe that gets kids rolling balls of mixture will help develop their fine motor skills no matter what their age. Fun to make, these meatballs also encourage independence — put all the components in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.
200g dried rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet directions fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and steamed asian greens, to serve
Meatballs 500g pork and veal mince (see Baker's Tips) 18g (⅓ cup) panko rice crumbs 2 tablespoons milk 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger 1½ tablespoons finely chopped drained canned water chestnuts 5 green shallots, thinly sliced ⅓ cup finely chopped coriander
Sauce 2 teaspoon peanut oil 3 tablespoons good-quality green curry paste, or to taste (see Baker's Tips) 125ml (½ cup) good-quality chicken stock 500ml (1 cup) water 440ml can coconut milk 4 kaffir lime leaves 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste 1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste 2 teaspoon grated palm or brown sugar, or to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
Combine the mince, crumbs, milk, ginger, water chestnuts, green shallots and coriander in a large bowl and mix well with your hands until thoroughly combined. Use damp hands to roll 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place in one layer in a shallow 20cm x 30cm/2.5 litre (10 cup) capacity ovenproof dish. Cover and place in the fridge while making the sauce.
To make the sauce, combine the peanut oil and curry paste in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until aromatic. Add the stock, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and bring just to a simmer over medium heat.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with extra fish sauce, lime just and sugar if desired.
Divide the noodles among four bowls and spoon over the meatballs and some of the sauce. Top with coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges and steamed Asian greens.
You can also use just pork mince for this recipe.
You may find you need to use a little less or add a little more green curry paste depending on the brand you use as they can vary greatly in flavour and heat intensity. Keep also in mind your childrens' flavour preferences as you don’t want to make it too hot for their sensitive tastebuds.