Cinnamon Biscuits

Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) with Dried Cranberries and Tangerine

For me, these Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) are pretty much the flavour of Christmas. There is something about the combination of cinnamon, citrus and cranberries which is the very essence of the festive season.

I make these Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) during the Christmas and New Year holidays but they are pretty good at anytime of the year. They consist of a simple shortbread biscuit combined with dried cranberries and flavoured with cinnamon and tangerine zest. They are topped with a fresh citrus icing made with tangerine juice.

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What you need to know about this recipe

  • First off, as with all biscuit (cookie) recipes, it is really quick and easy. The biscuits can be out of the oven in half an hour.
  • However, you do need to make sure that the biscuits (cookies) don’t burn. It is worth checking them after they have been in the oven for 10 minutes (step 8).
  • I generally add icing to these biscuits as I like the extra flavour that you get from using the tangerine juice. It also makes them look a bit more festive particularly if you decorate with a dried cranberry. However, if you are short of time or don’t particularly like icing, you don’t need to ice them. They will still taste pretty good!
  • I like using dried cranberries in this recipe as they are associated with Christmas and also because I love their sweet-sour flavour and ruby red colour. However, you can substitute the same quantity of any dried fruit – raisins, sultanas, currants – if you prefer. You can also leave the dried fruit out altogether if you wish.
Other festive sauces and accompaniments

The festive season is a great time to do a bit of baking. I have a lot of great baking recipes for easy biscuits (cookies), cakes and desserts. I also have a few recipes for easy, home-made sauces and accompaniments that can take a festive meal to the next level. If you are preparing a special festive meal for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year you might like to try some of my other recipes for drinks, snacks, accompaniments and desserts. They are very easy and are a great way to create a celebratory festive feast!

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Biscuits and cookie recipes are a great place to start if you are new to home-baking.  Even if you are a more experienced cook, it is great to have a few biscuit recipes in your repertoire. They are quick and easy to make and taste so much better than shop-bought varieties.   You can have home-baked treats on the table in under an hour.

Shortbread is one of the easiest baking recipes. I have a number of shortbread recipes including Almond Shortbread with RosewaterShortbread with White Chocolate and Raspberries and Lavender Shortbread. I also have a very simple recipe for crisp and buttery Lemon Biscuits (Cookies). My recipe for Ginger Biscuits (Cookies) is oaty and mildly spiced. My recipe for sweet Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts is a bit more unusual but just as easy to make. If you are looking for something savoury, I have an extremely moreish recipe for Cheese Biscuits (Cookies).

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Recipe for Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) with Dried Cranberries and Tangerine

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Cinnamon Biscuits with Dried Cranberries and Tangerine

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Approximately 12 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits (Cookies)
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These quick and easy Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies), flavoured with tangy tangerine and dried cranberries, are a brilliant seasonal treat.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 150 g  (6 oz) plain flour
  • 100 g (4 oz) butter 
  • 50 g (2 oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tangerines
  • 25 g (1 oz) dried cranberries plus a few more to decorate
  • 100 g (4 oz) icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Alternatively, process in a food processor. 
  3. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon and the grated zest of the tangerines.  Stir to combine and then add the dried cranberries.
  4. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
  5. Roll the dough out to approximately 1 cm (half an inch) thickness.
  6. Cut into circles or other shapes if you wish.
  7. Place the circles on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
  8. Bake for 15  minutes until golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer the the biscuits to a cooling rack.
  10. Make the icing by mixing the juice of the two tangerines with the icing sugar. 
  11. When the biscuits are completely cold, put a teaspoon of icing on each one and top with a dried cranberry.

Keywords: biscuits, cookies, Christmas, cinnamon, cranberries

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Glutarama  and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and [email protected] Not So Creative Cook

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Onion Soup

Creamy Onion Soup with Sage

This velvety, smooth and mild Onion Soup is the perfect autumn or winter comfort food. It is very different from a traditional French Onion Soup which consists of pieces of onion in a thin, strongly-flavoured broth. I add a gentle hint of sage to my soup which adds an extra dimension to the flavour.

The idea for this soup came to me when I was making an onion sauce. I made a white sauce, containing soft pieces of onion, to serve with some Chestnut and Mushroom Pies. It occurred to me that the mild-but-tasty sauce would make a brilliant soup. I thinned it out a bit and blended it smooth and found out that it did!

I now make this soup regularly. It is one of those brilliant, simple recipes where very basic ingredients produce something wonderful with very little effort.

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What you need to know about this Onion Soup recipe

  • The key to this recipe is to cook the onions on a low heat for twenty minutes to ensure that they become soft and sweet. This process (step 2) is transformational and gives the finished soup a real depth of flavour and sweetness.
  • Try and use a good quality stock (step 4) as this will also make a big difference to the flavour. If you have home-made stock, so much the better. However, I generally use good quality vegetable bouillon powder.
  • My version of this soup is vegetarian. However, it is very easy to make the recipe vegan by using vegetable oil instead of butter (step 1) and by using a non-dairy milk (coconut milk or a nut milk such as almond or cashew) (step 6).
  • This soup can be made in advance and then reheated. It also freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for at least 6 months.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Other easy vegetarian soup recipes

I have lots of easy, vegetarian soup recipes. If you like this Onion Soup you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Leek and Potato Soup, Nettle Soup, Fennel SoupJerusalem Artichoke Soup  or Sweetcorn Chowder and showcase a single vegetable.

Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple SoupMoroccan Spiced Sweet Potato SoupCeleriac and Apple SoupMushroom and Chestnut SoupPumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Recipe for Creamy Onion Soup with Sage

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Onion Soup with Sage

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This mild and velvety Onion Soup, gently flavoured with sage, is easy to make and is the perfect comfort food.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 75 g (3 oz) butter or oil
  • 5 large onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
  • 600 ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
  • 300 ml (Half a pint) of milk, vegetable stock or water

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a heavy-based pan. 
  2. Peel and slice the onions.  Add to the pan with the sage, season with salt and pepper and cook slowly for twenty minutes until they are soft and sweet. 
  3. Add the flour and cook for a further two minutes. 
  4. Add the 500 ml of vegetable stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Blend the soup until smooth using a hand blender or food processor.
  6. Add up to 300 ml of milk, vegetable stock or water to thin the soup to your desired consistency. 

 


Keywords: soup, onion soup, onion, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and   [email protected], Spatulas & Spoons 

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Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

Shallot Tart

This Shallot Tart is very quick and easy to make.   The flavours are a good balance with sweet, caramelised shallots, salty anchovies, pungent thyme and creamy mascarpone on a base of crispy, buttery puff pastry.     If you are a vegetarian, you could replace the anchovies with olives or capers which both have a strong, salty taste.

I make a lot of similar tarts. Generally, the toppings on these puff pastry tarts are determined by what I have to hand in my kitchen but they usually include something cheesy or creamy and also something oniony plus a few stronger flavours to pep things up!   

This thyme which is one of my favourite herbs. I use it in lots of savoury recipes but also in sweet ones such as Thyme Ice Cream with Honey, Thyme Cake and Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts.

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Shallot Tart

What you need to know about this recipe

  • There is no shame in using ready-made puff pastry  – it makes things so much easier – but if you can find a brand that says it is made with butter it will taste so much better!
  • I love shallots, partly because they generally have a milder, sweeter flavour than most onions.   It is easy to remove the skins using boiling water, as described below (step 4). I like that they can be eaten whole (or halved) rather than needing to be chopped or sliced like regular onions.
  • You can omit the anchovies if you want to make this tart vegetarian (or simply don’t like anchovies). A few olives or a sprinkle of capers are good vegetarian alternatives.
  • When you are putting the toppings onto the pastry, make sure that you leave a border of around 2 cm (1 inch) around the edge.  This will mean that you get a lovely crispy edge of risen pastry.
  • I think this tart is best eaten hot with the pastry crisp from the oven.

Shallot Tart

Other quiche and tart recipes

Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Some of my favourites are listed below.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Recipe for Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

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Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy makes an easy and very tasty lunch or supper.  The combination of crisp buttery pastry, sweet shallots, fragrant thyme and salty anchovy is superb!


Scale

Ingredients

500 g (1lb) pack of ready-made puff pastry (get one made with butter if you can)
A little plain flour
A few sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
1 tin of anchovies
500 g (1lb)  of shallots
150 g (5 oz) of mascarpone


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Lightly dust your oven tray with flour.
  3. Roll out the puff pasty into a large rectangle and place on your oven tray.
  4. Remove the skins from your shallots.  The easiest way of doing this is to put them in a small saucepan, cover with boiling water and leave for 3 minutes.  Then drain off the water and the skins will be easy to remove.
  5. Cut each peeled shallot in half.  Place shallots in a small frying pan with a little butter and cook very gently until golden and softened.  This should take around 10 minutes.
  6. Spread the mascarpone over the puff pastry.  Leave a border of around 2 cm (1 inch) around the edge.  This will mean that you get a lovely crispy edge of risen pastry.
  7. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and small pieces of anchovy.  Then add the cooked shallots.
  8. Place the tart in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until the pastry is crispy and golden.
  9. The tart can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.   I like it best hot.

Keywords: shallot tart, thyme, anchovy

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Peachicks Bakery and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday 

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Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

Thyme Biscuits (Thyme Cookies)

Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

These quick and easy sweet Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) are crumbly, buttery and sweet with a fantastic fresh herby flavour. The thyme provides a gentle but complex flavour which really makes these biscuits special. They are topped with golden roasted pinenuts which provide added crunch.

If you are a bit wary of using thyme in a sweet recipe, I would really encourage you to try making these biscuits. I firmly believe that one of the joys of home-cooking is to experiment with different flavours, and combinations of flavours. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that all my recipes are very easy and simple which allows a focus on but the common thread is , and to have the freedom to discover new flavours and to use familiar ingredients in new ways.

This recipe is very loosely inspired by the Italian pinolate biscuits, which are often lemon flavoured and contain ground pinenuts in addition to a topping of whole ones.    When I was putting together a recipe for thyme-flavoured biscuits, I thought that a topping of pinenuts would make them look attractive and go well with the herby flavour.  The pinenuts become golden and toasted while the biscuits are cooking in the oven and this makes them crunchy and also enhances their flavour.

Thyme Biscuits (Thyme Cookies)

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Other sweet herby recipes

If you like this recipe, I have a number of other recipes that use herbs in sweet dishes. I have two simple loaf cake recipes, for Thyme Cake and Rosemary Cake, which highlight how brilliant these herbs are as flavourings for cakes. I also have a great recipe for Thyme Ice Cream with Honey and Mascarpone which goes pretty well with these Thyme Biscuits!

Thyme Biscuits (Thyme Cookies)
In praise of thyme

Thyme is one of my favourite herbs. It is extremely versatile and I use it in both sweet and savoury dishes. The fresh  thyme that you buy in the supermarket will generally be common thyme which does make a good flavouring for these biscuits.  However, I used lemon thyme when making these biscuits, as I grow it in my garden and particularly like its lemony-herby flavour.    If you have space for a few pots and want to grow your own thyme, there are many different types, a number of which have distinctive citrus notes such as lemon, orange or lime.   Herbal Haven has a very large variety of thyme and other herbs which can be bought online.

In addition to my sweet recipes for Thyme Cake and Thyme Ice Cream with Honey and Mascarpone, I also use thyme a lot in savoury dishes. It is a great partner for onions and shallots, such as Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovies, and is also brilliant with chicken as in my Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme.

Thyme Biscuits (Thyme Cookies)

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Biscuits and cookie recipes are a great place to start if you are new to home-baking.  They are quick and easy to make and taste so much better than shop-bought varieties.   You can have home-baked treats on the table in under an hour.

Shortbread is one of the easiest baking recipes. I have a number of shortbread recipes including Almond Shortbread with Rosewater, Shortbread with White Chocolate and Raspberries and Lavender Shortbread. I also have a very simple recipe for crisp and buttery Lemon Biscuits (Cookies). My recipe for Ginger Biscuits (Cookies) is oaty and mildly spiced. If you are looking for something savoury, I have an extremely moreish recipe for Cheese Biscuits (Cookies).

Recipe for Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

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Thyme Biscuits (Cookies) with Pinenuts

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These biscuits (cookies) are flavoured with fresh thyme and topped with crunchy, toasted pinenuts.  They are great eaten on their own or as an accompaniment to ice-cream.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 150 g  (6 oz) plain flour
  • 100 g (4 oz) butter 
  • 50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or half a tablespoon of dried thyme
  • 50 g (2 oz) pinenuts

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Alternatively, process in a food processor. 
  3. Add the sugar and the chopped fresh thyme.
  4. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
  5. Roll the dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness.
  6. Cut into circles or other shapes if you wish.
  7. Place the circles on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
  8. Press pinenuts into the top of each circle of dough.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Keywords: biscuits, thyme, pinenuts

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday 

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Leek and Potato Soup with Fresh Chives

Leek and Potato Soup with Fresh Chives

This Leek and Potato Soup is a lovely, simple traditional soup. It is warming and hearty with a mild onion flavour. The potatoes thicken the soup without making it too heavy. It is filling enough to serve as a light lunch with some good bread but it can also be served as a starter for a more formal meal.

It is a truly versatile soup because it can be eaten either hot or cold. The cold version is similar to the French cold soup Vichyssoise which is generally made with chicken stock. This means that it is a soup for all seasons. It will warm you up in winter and cool you down in summer! If you are serving it cold, you need to allow it to cool down to room temperature after you have made it. Then put it in the fridge for at least two hours – ideally overnight – to ensure that it is properly chilled.

I like to stir a little cream into the finished soup and top it off with some fresh chives. Neither are essential. The soup will taste good without these additions if you do not wish to include them.

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Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

What you need to know about making Leek and Potato Soup
  • You must cook the leeks and onions slowly to allow them to sweeten and soften without burning.  Don’t try and rush this stage. This slow gentle cooking is what will give your soup its extra-special flavour.
  • A good quality stock is essential. This will give your soup depth of flavour. You can use either vegetarian stock or meat-based stock. If you have home-made stock, either vegetarian or meat-based, so much the better. I sometimes use home-made chicken stock or the cooking juices from a boiled ham. Both go well as a basis for this soup. You can use stock-cubes or powder to make the stock if you do not have any home-made stock to hand. If so, try and use a good quality brand.
  • This soup is vegetarian if you use a vegetable-based stock. You can make a vegan version by substituting the butter for an extra tablespoon of oil and omitting the cream.
  • This soup can be made in advance and then reheated. It also freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for at least 6 months.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Other easy vegetarian soup recipes

I have lots of easy, vegetarian soup recipes. If you like this Leek and Potato Soup you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Nettle Soup, Fennel SoupJerusalem Artichoke Soup  or Sweetcorn Chowder and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple SoupMoroccan Spiced Sweet Potato SoupCeleriac and Apple SoupMushroom and Chestnut SoupPumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Leek and Potato Soup recipe

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Leek and Potato Soup with Fresh Chives

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a really easy soup which can be eaten either hot or cold.  Although it uses relatively cheap ingredients, the soup is elegant and flavourful and is not out of place as a first course at a dinner party.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 leeks
  • 2 onions (I use white onions to keep the colour of the final soup pale)
  • 2 large potatoes (about 500 g or 1 lb)
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 litre (2 pints) good quality stock 
  • A bunch of fresh chives
  • A little double cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash the leeks, trim off the dark top parts of the leaves and chop the stalks roughly.  Peel and chop the onions.
  2.  Heat the butter and the oil in your saucepan.  Add the chopped leeks and onions, season them with salt and pepper,  and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet.   It is really important to  add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
  3.  Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the leeks and onions.  Cook gently for a few minutes.
  4. Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.

Notes

This soup can be eaten either hot or cold.

Keywords: leek potato soup

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Curly’s Cooking and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and  Laurena @ Life Diet Health

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