"I sat and thought hard.
I closed my eyes and imagined their flavours.
In one hand I held an orange and in the other a sprig of thyme.
I sniffed one and tasted another.
I couldn’t tell what would be when these are baked together.
There was only way to find out...
Trust and try out the recipe."
I am big on visualizing recipes before you start cooking. But then there are days when you’re presented with two contrasting ingredients: like Orange and Thyme. For the life of me I couldn’t place these two ingredients together on my imaginary taste palette.
I was intrigued and excited.
It was also the best season for an experiment like this. They say Christmas is magical and I was about to discover this magic under 160 degree Celsius :)
Since I was a little girl, every Christmas season I would make lil goodie bags of festive treats and hand them out to my friends. It was my most favourite time as we spent almost a month preparing Christmas sweets and then spent a whole day stuffing the bags with nearly 10 varieties of sweet and savoury treats, tie them up with a string along with a handwritten card.
As years went by, I still do keep the tradition and even on a busy year as this one with the book launch, I wanted to make something homemade. This time I picked a recipe from Taste.com.au – Orange and Thyme Shortbread. The recipe seemed simple for a busy weekend as I was also occupied by shooting promo videos for the book. The only twist I made to the recipe was to dust a little cinnamon powder into the buttercream to add that extra punch of festive flavours.
The result: delicious and the perfect choice for gifting friends and family at short notice.
125g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup rice flour
2 tsp orange rind, finely grated
1/2 tsp thyme, coarsely chopped
For the Orange and Cinnamon Buttercream
100g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp orange rind, finely grated
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
3 tsp orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Stir in the plain flour and rice flour until the dough comes together. Roll into a ball.
3. Place the dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Using your palm, flatten the ball into a circular disc shape.
4. Sprinkle the orange rind and thyme and knead until smooth (love this part! I actually paused and looked at the colors before me). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick disc. Use a 4cm cookie cutter to cut discs from the dough, re-rolling the excess. Place on the lined baking trays.
5. Bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 15 mins or until light golden. Set aside on the trays to cool completely.
6. To make orange buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter in a bowl until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the orange rind, cinnamon powder and orange juice; beat until well combined. Place in a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle.
7. Turn over half the biscuits and pipe the orange cinnamon buttercream on the biscuits. Top with the remaining biscuits.
Recipe adapted from Taste.Com.Au