Fox Cookies

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last blog post…yikes, time surely does fly.

It’s been a busy ol’ time, buying a house, selling our apartment, all that goes with that (paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork followed by appointments, cleaning, sorting, more paperwork, finding a new school…) and also (almost) completing my yoga teacher training course…and last week our lovely boy turned 7, I’ve posted a few pics of his birthday treats over on my Instagram account and been asked if I’d share the recipe so here we go…I tried a few different recipes and this one is really good, the cookies keep their shape, don’t spread in the oven and taste good too. *don’t even think about using a shortbread recipe…what a waste of time THAT was!

I used a Fox cookie cutter by Emporte-PiΓ©ces at MeriMeri and then I made a little cardboard stencil out of the packaging to use for dusting on the cacao powder.

Ingredients: (makes around 35 cookies when you keep rolling out the off cuts and cutting more)

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) of unsalted butter, softened (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cups of castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups (17 ounces) of All-Purpose Flour (use white flour to get the pale colour of the cookie)
  • Cacao powder for dusting (optional)
  • wooden cocktail stick to make the indents for the eyes.

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375f / 190c degrees.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside.
  • Place butter in a bowl and beat until smooth. I used my KitchenAid to do this but you can do it by hand.
  • Add the sugar and mix until combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time mixing well in between each addition.
  • Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix well.
  • Mix in the flour one cup at a time and mix just until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.
  • Divide the dough into 3 balls and place in the fridge for about 10 mins, this helps the gluten to develop so you can roll it out without it breaking up.
  • Roll each one out on a mat (I rolled out onto baking paper then layered them up on to a baking tray), roll them out to about 3mm deep, any thinner and you risk the cookies breaking too easily. Then pop them into the freezer for 10-15 minutes and cut out your cookie shapes and bake 7-9 minutes. It is important to freeze them first as this really helps them keep their firm shape.
  • Once I had cut them out I placed them onto baking paper on an oven tray, then used the stencil I’d made and dusted them carefully with the cacao powder using a soft brush (I have a craft brush I keep for this job), made the little indents for the eyes with the cocktail stick and popped them in the oven, I did one tray at a time for around 8 mins each, place them on a wire rack too cool and then stop the kids from wanting to eat them all πŸ™‚

The paper bags in the image above are simply stitched rectangles of baking paper filled with dried fruit (I used cranberries and raisins) and some chocolate covered pepernoten and raisins, I wanted a simple non-plastic treat for the kids to enjoy. #uselessplastic

What Do Six Year Olds Want?

Children’s birthday’s are often an emotional time for parents, remembering how far you’ve come to get from newborn to ‘wherever’ you are at, the ups, downs and day-to-day journey your family has been on, the passing of another year in their lives is worth celebrating.

When we first moved to the Netherlands I found it quite strange that people congratulated me when it was one of my children’s birthday’s (even my mum was congratulated when she visited us on Dolly’s birthday, much to her bemusement), in fact, the whole family is congratulated when one of us has a birthday…but now I ‘get’ it and love it, it’s like saying “well done, you’ve made it through another year! You are here, you are together and you are alive!”.

This week we celebrated our Dexie turning 6. He requested an Owl cake (we always try to make whatever cake the kids like, it’s become a bit of a family tradition…not to mention challenge (see last years Pirate ship!!), for some reason Dex had an Owl theme going on, he drew a picture of an owl to be made into his birthday invitation (lucky his daddy is a graphic designer eh?) and I made owl cookies as the traktatie (school favours traditionally given out to class friends here in Holland).

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The Owl bisciuts are from a tutorial I found on Pinterest here, I subsituted currants, pressed into the eyes 3 – 5 mins before the bake was finished (to stop them burning) for the bakers chocolate chips, as it’s hard to find those in regular stores in NL.

For the chocolate cake, I used a Delia Smith ‘all-in-one sponge’ recipe with cocoa powder instead of vanilla extract, 2 layers of sponge with fresh whipped cream and strawberries sandwiched in the middle. The choclate on the outside is a mousse recipe as I think that butter cream is too sweet, the mousse is quite rich…but very delicious and just a small piece is plenty, this cake cuts into many servings, so you can invite lots of friends to celebrate with you.

So, what do six year olds want? Cake, owl cake in our case…and lots of it! x

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