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Rabbits and A recipe

Firstly I should tell you this is not a rabbit recipe. My Auntie Brenda who lives in France eats her rabbits – mine just eat the garden. Meet Pickle, Dyson and Dave – they spend their days mowing the lawn, devouring the shrubs and tunnelling to next door because one garden just isn’t big enough. More about the buns another day … for now…

A recipe

Easy print CUTTER COOKIES recipe card

Ingredients …….. 2 cups (approx 230g) plain/all purpose flour …….. 130g butter, softened/room temperature …….. ⅔ cup (approx 130g) caster sugar …….. I medium egg, lightly beaten …….. 1 tsp vanilla extract

Adapt it …….. Add 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon, ginger or all spice ….. Replace vanilla with almond, orange or lemon extract

This is a good basic recipe, easily adapted with other flavour combinations and great for detailed shapes and patterns.

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix butter, sugar and vanilla or other flavourings/spices until just becoming creamy with no large butter lumps. Beat in egg until well combined

2. Add flour and mix to a soft, non sticky dough then knead and divide dough into 2 or 3 pieces

3. Keeping your board or work top well dusted with flour roll out each piece to a depth of 2-5mm

4. Place between sheets of greaseproof/parchment and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more (or leave overnight / freeze for another day)

5. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 . Cut and stamp your cookies. If baking in batches keep them refrigerated until you are ready to bake (to prevent spreading)

6. Place just slightly apart on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes turning the sheet once for even cooking. Remove and leave to cool on a rack before storing in an airtight container

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It all began so well…

….when I found this recipe for Nigella’s spicy hot cross buns in an old magazine….

175ml/6fl oz milk

50g/2oz butter

zest of 1 orange

1 clove

2 cardamom pods

400g/14oz bread flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

7g easy-blend yeast

100g/4oz mixed dried fruit

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

next time I would use up to twice as much fruit and spice (you called them spicy Nigella)

1 egg

1 egg, beaten with a little milk

CROSSES – 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour, 1/2 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp water

SUGAR GLAZE – 1 tbsp caster sugar + 1 tbsp boiling water or warmed apricot jam/honey

I had all I needed. Hurrah! I carefully measured everything out and followed Nigella’s instructions, mostly……with some *adaptations*….

1. Heat the milk, butter, zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then leave to infuse. Measure flour, sugar, yeast, dried fruit and spices into a bowl. When the infused milk has reached blood temperature remove clove and cardamom and beat in egg. Pour this liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients.

2. Knead the dough and if too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Keep kneading until you have a silky, elastic dough. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl covered with cling film. Leave to prove overnight in the fridge (or 1 1/2 hours in a warmish place).

3. Punch the dough down and knead again until smooth and elastic. Divide into 16 pieces and “shape into smooth round buns”. Oops.

4. Sit the buns on a lined or greased baking sheet, snug but not touching. Score the bun tops with a cross. Cover and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes – they should have risen and almost joined up.

5. Brush buns with egg wash then mix flour, sugar and water into a smooth thick paste. Using a teaspoon, dribble two lines into the cross indentations and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the glaze.

*adaptations*

1. Place bowl of dough in warm place such as airing cupboard and forget about it until 10pm.

2. Don’t bother shaping into smooth round buns because it’s too late to bother now – you just want wine and a lump of cheese.

3. Forget to score a cross in the top.

4. Make the cross paste way too runny and create a blobby mess.

5. Abandon any idea of taking them to granny’s for lunch.

I give you my Hot Cross Nobblies…

and I’ve picked a winner