Nothing beats the aroma of freshly baked cookies.

According to culinary historians, the first record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature.

There are also records showing cookies were a result of sugar cultivation in 7th century Persia. During the 11th to 16th centuries, sugar spread through the Mediterranean and then to northern Europe. By the 14th-century wafer-like cakes could be purchased in Paris. 

By definition, a cookie is a small sweet cake, either crisp or soft. And each country has its own word for ‘cookie’. They’re commonly called biscuits in New Zealand, England and Australia; cookies in the USA; and galletas in Spain.

The name biscuit is derived from the Latin ‘panis biscoctus’ meaning twice baked. The name cookie was probably derived from the Dutch ‘koekje’ — little cakes.
For best results with your home-baked cookies or biscuits, use level spoon and cup measurements. Ensure butter is at room temperature otherwise it won’t cream with the sugar. It should be pliable enough that your finger will leave a mark in it. Do not melt the butter as the dough consistency will change.


1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
175g butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted 
1 1/2 cups plain flour 
1/4 cup custard powder
Coffee Filling: 1 tablespoon butter, softened 
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
2 teaspoons hot water
1 cup icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water. In a large bowl, cream the butter and icing sugar together until thick and pale. Beat in the coffee. Sift in the flour and custard powder and mix well. 
Take generous teaspoons of the dough and roll into balls. Place on the prepared tray and flatten gently with a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. 

To make the coffee filling, combine the butter, instant coffee and hot water in a medium bowl. Sift in the icing sugar and mix to make a spreadable consistency. Sandwich two yo-yos together with the icing. Makes about 20.


Berry Mixture: 450g frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups water
1/2 cup cornflour
Crumble: 250g butter, chopped and melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups each: rolled oats, plain flour, wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Bring the berries, sugar, lemon juice and 1 cup of water to the boil. Dissolve the cornflour in the remaining water. Carefully stir into the berry mixture. Simmer, stirring, until thick. Cool. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm x 30cm sponge roll pan with baking paper. 

Beat together the melted butter, brown sugar and egg in a large bowl. Add the combined rolled oats, flours and baking soda and stir until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs — not too dry or wet.

Pat half the crumble mixture evenly onto the pan. Spoon the fruit over the top then sprinkle with the remaining crumble. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 20 slices.


175g butter, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g each: white chocolate, macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 1-2 baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat well. Sift in the combined flour and baking powder and then stir in the white chocolate and macadamias.

Place tablespoons of the mixture onto lined baking trays. Lightly press down with the palm of your hand. Chill for 30 minutes if very soft. Bake for 15 minutes, until cooked. Makes 30.


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