One of my all time favourite things to do when I do have some extra time is baking. I find it extremely relaxing and it always brings me joy. I can honestly say that it has always been a favourite hobby of mine. I actually took 'Home Economics' as a subject whilst I was at school and it brought me a lot of joy. I found that it felt less like a chore than the rest of school. I also had a fabulous teacher which always helps.
Taking it as a subject allowed me to explore what I was capable of in the kitchen. I found that I was very good at making pastry in particular and also good at baking in general. Cooking 'real' food is a different thing altogether and I am in fact not great in that particular department (oh well, you can't be good at everything).
Since leaving school, I have changed my eating habits quite a lot.
I was anorexic whilst at school and i've heard that it is actually quite normal for people with anorexia to enjoy cooking and baking. The problems really only start when it comes to the actual eating of said food. Since then, I have definitely recovered quite a lot and i'm certainly a healthy weight, my mind still needs work though and it's a long road to recovery. Also since then, I have become a vegetarian which then had to change to being pescatarian when I was diagnosed only a couple of months ago with diabetes type 2. Sugar is no longer an option but I don't want that to stop me baking, It's my time out and that makes it very important to me. I thought I'd share this recipe with you. It still has butter and flour in
it and is by no means completely 'guilt-free'. It's a great recipe for special occasions though.
300g plain flour (can also be gluten free but must be suitable for baking)
Four tbsps honey (you can substitute the honey out and use the same amount of xylitol or agave nectar)
2 tsp ground allspice (you can reduce this if you want them less spicy)
One medium/large egg
One tsp vanilla essence
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C or gas mark four.
In a small pan, melt your honey and margarine.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
In a separate bowl or cup, beat your egg then stir in.
Add your vanilla essence.
Sieve your flour and all spice into a bowl, then pour in your liquid.
Stir until you have a dough.
Roll into a large ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for about an hour or longer if it hasn't cooled off completely.
Then, once the dough is completely cooled, remove it from the fridge and lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out your dough to about one cm thick. Cut into your chosen shapes and position on a greased baking sheet.
Bake in the centre of the oven for just 10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.
Sprinkle with a little icing sugar or decorate with some icing made with xylitol icing sugar and water. You can also use any fool colouring to get some pretty colours going.
If you want to make the ones pictured above, you'll need two of your favourite shape of cookie cutter.
One must be larger and the other should fit easily in the middle. I chose a flower shape for this but you could use any shape.
You'll need two cookies to make one of these jam filled ones. One full cookie and the other with the cut out.
Wait for the cookies to cool completely before decorating
The jam I used was also sugar-free but made with real fruit (i used raspberry but you could use any type of jam)
*NB: I only realised half way through decorating that 100's and 1000's are in fact tiny balls of sugar. Decorating with them was not one of my best moves and not a good idea if you have diabetes. It was a small oops and I only decorated 4 that way. It worked out okay but wouldn't recommend if you want to make these for the diabetic person in your life.