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)!
125g salted butter, melted
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
110g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
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.
Prep 30min (+ 1hr proving time)Bake 15-18minMakes 4 serves
This is a terrific pizza recipe and it's particularly fun to make with kids. It has become a favourite in our house and when the kids were younger it was a regular fixture for Friday night dinner, when their friends would come for a play and early dinner. Together we would knead and roll the dough, then top it, bake it and eat it. They loved it and I'm sure you will too!
450g (3 cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
1 x 7g sachet instant dried yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
310ml (1¼ cups) lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ brown onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
400g tin diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
270g bocconcini, cut into 1cm-thick slices or torn into chunks
160g semi-dried tomatoes or 200g cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered if large)
8 think slices prosciutto
50g rocket leaves
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
To make the dough, combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the water and oil, then add to the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding as little extra flour as possible, or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it to coat lightly with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, to make the Pizza sauce, put the olive oil and onion in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened to a thick sauce consistency. Remove from the heat and season with sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 230°C (210°C fan-forced).
Knock back the dough by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top and knead briefly until reduced to its original size. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out one portion on a piece of non-stick baking paper large enough to line a large heavy oven tray to a rectangle about 3mm thick. Transfer to the tray and prick all over with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and another piece of non-stick baking paper and large oven tray.
Spread the pizza bases with the pizza sauce leaving a border around the edge. Top with the bocconcini and semi-dried tomatoes (if using), dividing evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, swapping the trays after 8 minutes, until the bases are crisp, golden and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, cut into portions and serve topped with the fresh tomatoes (if using), prosciutto and rocket, sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper and drizzled with a little olive oil.
Photography by Julie Renouf.
Prep 1hrBake 55minMakes 6 serves
Fun to make and scrumptious to eat, this homemade baked gnocchi combines pumpkin, tomatoes and spinach for a delicious, nutritious meal, made all the more fun by being served in individual dishes.
75g baby spinach
100g bocconcini, thinly sliced
350g unpeeled butternut pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 6 chunks
650g medium Desiree potatoes, unpeeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
110g (½ cup) plain flour, plus extra to dust
100g bacon rashers, trimmed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons pouring cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a tray with a clean tea towel and dust lightly with flour.
- Place the pumpkin in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
- Meanwhile, put the whole potatoes in a saucepan of water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil over medium heat. Boil for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender with tested with a skewer. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Next, peel the warm potatoes, return the flesh to the dry saucepan and mash until smooth. Use a metal spoon to press a third of the potatoes through a coarse sieve or fine colander into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining mashed potato in 2 more batches.
- Remove the pumpkin skin from the flesh and discard. Add the flesh to the potato and mash together. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a firm but slightly sticky dough (adding a little more flour if necessary). Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each out on a lightly floured bench top into a log about 2cm in diameter. Cut the logs into 2cm lengths and then roll each into a small ball. Gently roll each ball, one at a time, over the back of a lightly floured fork to form the gnocchi, placing on the tea towel-lined tray as they are finished.
- To make the tomato sauce, cook the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and sugar, bring to a simmer and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, stir through the cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add a quarter of the gnocchi and boil for 2 minutes or until they just rise to the surface. Remove from the water immediately with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain well before transferring to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi in 3 more batches.
- Add the tomato sauce to the gnocchi with the spinach and gently stir through. Spoon the gnocchi and sauce into 6 x 250ml (1 cup) ovenproof dishes or ramekins, dividing evenly. Top with the bocconcini.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until bocconcini has melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- You can also make this baked gnocchi by using 750g bought fresh gnocchi instead of making the pumpkin gnocchi.
- You can also bake this recipe in a 1.5 litre (6 cup) ovenproof dish. The baking time and temperature will be the same.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Kids in the Kitchen. CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.
Photography by Alan Benson.
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!
250g butter, softened slightly
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
375g (2½ cups) plain flour
60g (½ cup) malted milk powder
Dark or milk Choc Bits (chocolate chips), to decorate
- 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.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Kids in the Kitchen.
CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.
Photography by Alan Benson.
Prep 30minBake 30minMakes 4-6 serves
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
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
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.
Prep 25min (+ 2hr chilling, cooling and standing time)Bake 12-15minMakes about 35
Based on a deliciously spiced gingerbread, these fun biscuits are given their personalities through simple decorations... Make them into cheeky gingerbread men or turn them upside down and decorate them as cute, Christmas-themed reindeer.
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 90g (½ cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
- 160ml (⅔ cup) golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
- 375g (2½ cups) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 185g (1½ cups) pure icing sugar
- 35ml (7 teaspoons) boiling water
- Red food colouring
- Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and vanilla and beat to combine. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined and a dough forms. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Shape each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC (140°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with baking paper.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one portion of dough (leave the remaining portion in the fridge) on a lightly floured bench top to 4mm thick. Use an 8cm tall gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes and then carefully transfer the shapes to the prepared oven trays using a palette knife, leaving a little room between each for spreading. Reroll any scraps to make more shapes. Discard any off cuts from the second rolling.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are just starting to colour and are cooked through. Stand on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread dough portion.
- To make the Icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Gradually add 30ml (6 teaspoons) of the boiling water and mix until smooth. The icing should be a piping consistency (see Baker’s Tips). If it is too thick stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of boiling water and then test the consistency again. Spoon ¾ of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 3mm nozzle (see Baker’s Tips) and set aside. Stir a couple of drops of red food colouring into the remaining icing to reach the desired colour. Spoon into a separate piping bag fitted with a 3mm nozzle.
- Use the icing to decorate the cooled biscuits to make men and/or reindeer as desired (using the photograph as a guide). Set aside for about 20 minutes or until the icing sets.
- To test if the icing is the correct consistency for piping, drizzle a little on a plate and set aside for a few minutes. If it keeps its shape it is ready to use.
- If you don’t have piping bags and nozzles you can spoon the icing into a resealable plastic bag, seal and then cut a small hole in one of the corners to pipe through.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Photography by Georgie Esdaile.