Writing Competition Winner!


Lockdown for me has been a time that I have surprisingly grown to realize was necessary. After building up overwhelming feelings of stress throughout year 11, a long and well needed break was overdue. The feeling of having free time to be alone and relax almost felt foreign. Despite this new ability to gradually stroll through each day with no aims or goals, it begins to become boring. It is vital to either experiment with new activities that could push you out of your everyday routine or simply revert back to old hobbies you used to adore and evidentially still do. Baking was and is something I have always enjoyed, the feeling of looking forward to the final product and sharing the result with your family is something I crave. During this lockdown I have used the circumstances as an excuse to run free and continuously experiment with new flavors and recipes. Below is a particular recipe which I have found everyone in my family loves and I enjoy baking.



Orange spiced cookies

This recipe is particularly relevant and suitable throughout the winter months due to its subtle spice which reminds me of the festive seasons. Despite the fact we are currently locked down in the hot weather, I couldn’t resist bringing this recipe back and reliving the times that we could leave our homes freely.


Ingredients

· 190g plain flour

· Quarter teaspoon baking powder

· Pinch salt

· Zest of 1 orange

· 65g caster sugar

· 115g unsalted butter

· 1 egg

· Half tablespoon milk

· Half teaspoon ground nutmeg

· Half teaspoon ground cinnamon

· Demerara sugar for sprinkling


Instructions

1. Mix the flour, spices, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.

2. Grate your orange zest onto a large, clean chopping board and pour the caster sugar over the top. With the back of a metal spoon, rub the zest into the sugar until all of the sugar is a lovely pale orange colour. This will make the flavour really stand out in your cookies.

3. In another large bowl, measure out your softened butter and add the orange sugar. Cream together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well mixes, and slightly pale.

4. Add the milk, and half the egg, beaten. I know you usually can’t half eggs, but guesswork seems to be okay in this recipe, as long as you have what is roughly half your beaten egg in the mixture. Beat well until the mixture is smooth.

5. Add the flour mixture and mix until well combined, finishing off to make a lump of dough with your hands, adding a little more milk if needed.

6. Shape the dough into a fat sausage and wrap in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, though it can be left overnight.

7. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit). Slice the dough sausage in half, and roll out each half on a well-floured surface until that are biscuit thickness and cut out shapes with your preferred cutter, laying them on non-stick baking trays.

8. Add a little water to the remaining egg mixture, and brush the tops of all the biscuits with the egg wash using a pastry brush, then sprinkle each biscuit with Demerara Sugar.

9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the biscuits are just slightly golden brown. Cool on a wire cooling rack, and enjoy!

I would recommend this recipe as it adds a twist to the basic cookies that the majority of people will be making at home. The flavour for me is nostalgic as I had these many times as a child. Overall, this recipe summarizes my time in lockdown as it creates comfort in times of crisis which I think is vital.


by Abbie Gumbrell

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Harlands Rd, Haywards Heath RH16 1LT

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