Cookie (and Cake) Time!

lemon-thumbprint1I used to bake quite a lot but now I never seem to find the time. The holidays gave me a great opportunity, however, and I decided to try a new cookie recipe instead of sticking to the old favourites.

I made this recipe for lemony thumbprint cookies with apricot jam and they turned out great! The video accompanying the recipe is very clear and the recipe itself is pretty straightforward.

I only had lemons on hand, so I used them instead of a combination of lemon and lime. I think they’d be just as good if I used some orange zest, for example. There’s a moment when I was mixing the dry ingredients into the buttery mixture when the dough looked all dry and crumbly, but I persisted in mixing it and it all bound together in a silky clump of dough, perfect for rolling into balls (I did that without the ice-cream scoop, I just used my hands).

lemon-thumbprint2They’re really easy to make and they look cute (like a dozen fried eggs – sunny side up), but I think this recipe isn’t really perfect for packaging – the jam stays soft and mushy and it would get everywhere if you tried to stack them. They make for a pretty presentation if you plate them, though. They also taste like summer, which is a welcome taste in the middle of the winter!

 

cheesecakeI then baked a cheesecake for New Year’s Eve dinner – a trusty old Jamie Oliver recipe that never fails (I’m sure it will be a total flop the next time I try it, now that I’ve written this). It doesn’t require a water bath or any other dangerous, time-consuming methods that make your hair go gray prematurely. We ate it for two days afterward and it was still awesome. I usually make some sort of fruit sauce to go with it (blueberry-ginger-lemon was a favourite of mine).

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What’s your favourite dessert recipe? Did you bake anything special during the holidays?

You can follow me on Instagram for more slightly terrible food photos and an occasional bookish one.

  • This post has made me hungry, that is just rude. I would love to say I’m totally going to try baking something but, even though my surname is Baker, I possess none of the patience required to actually bake things. I may take a stroll to the nearest supermarket and buy me some cookies instead. Cheesecake looks delicious as well, it’s always a guilty pleasure of mine.

    I think the only thing I am successful at baking is brownies from a packet, they are dead easy and always turn out delicious, as long as I don’t have to share the tray with anyone it is all good.

    • Kaja

      Right, your surname is Baker :D Do you often get people asking you about that? Mine doesn’t mean anything apart from being similar to the Slovenian word for a pin (the one with a rounded head used in sewing).

      I really like baking and cooking in general – I thought about starting a food blog long before I started blogging about books, but my food photography is just pure crap and while I can occasionally pass photos such as these off in a post, I don’t think they would generate enough interest to sustain an entire food blog :)

  • Ooh, those look yummy! I haven’t done any baking in months. I’ve got a few cans of pumpkin sitting around waiting to be turned into pumpkin bread – maybe tomorrow, as it is supposed to snow.

    • Kaja

      I *love* pumpkin bread. I only “discovered” pumpkin desserts a couple of years ago because they aren’t at all traditional in our cuisine. I haven’t found a shop that sells pumpkin puree yet so I have to roast my own, but it’s totally worth it!
      I hope your bread will be yummy. What recipe do you use?

  • Everything looks so delicious! Cheesecake is a personal favourite, but it’s definitely an indulgence. I always feel like I need to sleep it off after eating it, haha! Baking is one of my favourite hobbies – usually I make some kind of loaf once a week. This week was pumpkin cranberry – pretty good if I do say so myself!

    • Kaja

      What recipe to you use for pumpkin loaf? As I said in reply to Lark’s comment, our stores don’t keep pumpkin puree (I don’t know why not since we get everything else, it’s not like we’re still a socialist country :p) and I have to roast my own pumpkin and then puree it, so it takes longer, but it’s totally worth it. Pumpkin pie is my husband’s favourite :)

      I think that cream cheese, the one that’s usually used in cheesecake recipes in the US (and probably in this version by Jamie Oliver), is somewhat heavier on the fat percentage than the one we get here, which is more like finely processed ricotta cheese. I’ve never had the original New York cheesecake, but this one isn’t really that heavy.

      I always have to make adjustments when I’m baking and cooking foreign recipes (basically all the time), because the ingredients are never the same – it’s really hard to find buttermilk here, for example, or know which of the 5 different types of cream we have here is the most similar to half-and-half… And the problems I used to have with cup measures! Then I got a set of them for Christmas and that made things much easier. But yeah, you get the point :)

  • Water baths for cheesecake, ekkk. I discovered no-bake cheesecakes first and it always amazes me just how complicated other recipes can get. Might try the Jamie Oliver one you linked too because it looks so simple though. Thanks!

    • Kaja

      Ooh, what recipe do you use for no-bake cheesecake? Sounds perfect!
      Yeah, those “wrap the entire pan in tin foil and pour boiling water around it” instructions make me cringe… SO overcomplicated.
      Jamie’s cake is really easy to make, though. I love it and it always turns out nice.