Cranberry, muesli & white chocolate cookies

Here is a recipe for some delish cranberry, muesli & white chocolate biscuits I made for a friends birthday recently. I think they would be perfect Christmas biscuits because cranberries always feel so festive. They also have muesli in them which makes them suitable for breakfast. In my opinion.

This recipe is adapted from Taste and you will need

250g softened butter
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 eggs at room temperature
3 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup white chocolate bits
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup muesli
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy (in an electric mixer). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. It’s important to have the eggs at room temperature so they dont cause the butter to seize up.
Add sifted flour to the butter mixture and then add cranberries, chocolate and muesli. Stir to combine. Roll out walnut sized balls, place them 5 cm apart on the trays and flatten with your palm.Bake for 12-15, swapping trays halfway through cooking, or until golden. Box up, wrap in a bow and give them to someone lovely.

 

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Fancy Framed Pinboard

My best friend of 17 years has the same birthday as me (fun fact: I am 5 hours and 1 minute older than her) and this year for our present exchange I decided to make her gifts since I had the time because I wasn’t working (and therefore also trying to be frugal).

I found this great frame and lamp base at a local op-shop and got to work. The frame was a great find. The satin flower print was horrible but the frame was metal and in great shape. I thought about getting mirror cut for it but in the end I decided to make a pinboard with some leftover cream hessian (burlap) from my chair upholstery adventure and a corkboard I had left over from my pin board art. The bestie has a fondness for pinning interesting and inspiring little snippets on a mood board so I thought this would be a nice version for her new apartment.

The lamp was an easy spray paint job and you can find a more detailed tutorial for that here.

To make a Fancy Framed Pinboard you will need

Frame with backing

Matt black spray paint

Spray adhesive

Corkboard

Hessian (you could also use calico or canvas or any sturdy fabric)

Scissors

Exacto knife

Ribbon

Staple gun or hot glue gun

Take the backing out of the frame. Clean and dry the frame and spray with 3 coats of spray paint, letting each coat dry before the next.

Using the backing as a guide, cut out the shape of the corkboard to fit the frame using an Exacto knife.

Cut out two pieces of hessian in the same shape.

In a well ventilated area, glue one piece of hessian onto the corkboard using the spray adhesive and the glue the next piece on top of that.

Using the staple gun or hot glue gun, attach the ribbon in whatever design you like by wrapping it around the hessian covered corkboard and securing it at the back.

Attach it to the frame and you’re done!

Don’t you think this one looks a bit like a Victorian brooch? I was tempted to keep it for myself!

The lamp (although I think it was quite nice to begin with) also got a chic matt black update.

And the birthday girl? She loved them!

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Date and pecan muesli… are you cereal?

Making your own home-made muesli is ridiculously easy and what’s great about it is you can customise it to include all your favourite fruit and nuts, lots of healthy stuff and leave out all of the bits you don’t like.

There are a few basic types of muesli – toasted, untoasted and bircher and I am a firm fan of the toasted variety. I know people look at it in terms of calories in the added sweeteners and oil but when you make it yourself you can control all of that and it’s still better for you than pre-packaged sugary cereals. Plus, rolled oats are really, really economical. For about $1.50 you can get 750 gm of oats – that’s a lot of muesli!

I was making this muesli as part of a birthday present so, rather than adding lots of healthy seeds like I normally would I decided to keep it sweet and decadent as a bit of a treat. I originally wanted to make maple-pecan muesli but my local supermarket didn’t have maple syrup! Still, this honey version is delicious.

Ingredients

7 cups of rolled oats

3/4 cup honey

4 tbsp sunflower (or other vegetable) oil

2 cups of whole pecans

2 cups whole dates

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried currants

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160ºC

On a large tray lined with baking paper, toast the pecans for 5 minutes but don’t let them brown

While the nuts are toasting, put the oats in a large bowl and set aside. Measure the honey and oil into a microwave safe glass jug and heat for 30 seconds until the honey is runny. (or in a saucepan on the stove). Whisk lightly and pour over oats and stir until the oats are evenly coated

Take the pecans off the tray and set aside to cool. Spread the oats on the tray as evenly as possible and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and the edges of the tray are starting to brown. Stir the oats every 5 minutes during the cooking time. Once done, leave to cool

While the oats are cooking chop the pecans (roughly in quarters is a good size). Do the same with the dates. Your cooled oats may be stuck together so use a spoon or your hands to break them up. Put them back in a large bowl and add the pecans, dates, currants and coconut and mix well.

And that’s it – it’s so super easy to have delicious muesli every day for a lot less than some of the fancy-schmancy muesli on offer at the supermarket or food halls of department stores and it makes a great gift that you can personalise to the taste of the lucky recipient.

You could try lots of different combinations like dried apple & cinnamon, macadamia & cranberry, apricot & almond, tropical fruit & coconut and walnut & raisin – yummo!

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