Cookbook 192: The Australian Women’s Weekly Baking: The Complete Collection

So I bought The Australian Women’s Weekly Baking: The Complete Collection from Aldi where it was selling for far less than the amount at the link. Probably about $20. And then over the last two years I’ve cooked from it every now and again, because I’ve been busy and baking is time consuming.

As per all AWW cookbooks these days, it’s triple tested, meaning that the recipe is tested three times by other people to make sure a consistent result is achieved. Lovely for some to spend all day making things and then taste testing them… probably also exhausting. The problem with cooking from this book over an extended period is that I don’t actually remember what I cooked until I find the photos (which is going to be a whole ‘nother exercise), so… look it’s an AWW cookbook, 4 out of 5 stars.

Lazy crazy chocolate cake (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate icing

  • 1/2 cup pouring cream
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 50g dark chocolate, copped coarsely

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan; line base with baking paper
  2. Beat ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until mixture is smooth and changes in colour. Pour mixture into pan.
  3. Bake cake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cake in pan for 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, make chocolate icing.
  5. Place cake on a platter; spread icing on top. Decorate cake with white chocolate shavings if you like.

Chocolate icing

  1. Bream cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove pan from heat; add chocolate. Stand for 5 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth and melted. If necessary, refrigerate for 5 minutes until thickened slightly.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Despite the general consensus of everyone else in the house that the mayonnaise would make the cake tangy, it instead makes the cake very moist and rich. The mayonnaise provide both the egg and fat elements of the recipe without you having to have eggs or butter to hand.
  • The whole “put everything in a bowl and mix” style recipes are quick and easy. Which makes this cake a dream to cook.

Coconut banana bread (serves 10)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp coconut essence
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 14cm x 21cm loaf pan; line base and sides with baking paper, extending the paper 5cm over sides
  2. Sift flours into a large bowl; stir in sugar, desiccated coco nut and banana, then combined eggs, oil and essence until just combined.
  3. Spread mixture into pan; sprinkle flaked coconut on top, pressing down lightly
  4. Bake bread for 1 hour 20 minutes. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool

Notes on this recipe:

  • A very moist banana cake, do recommend (though I’d probably add cinnamon and chocolate chips next time because they’re also good)
  • I used shredded coconut on the top of my cake, as you can see in the photo because I didn’t have flaked coconut. It didn’t make a difference and still tasted great.

Chocolate chip cookies (makes 44)

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 375g dark chocolate melts, chopped coarsely (or chocolate chips)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease three oven trays, line with baking paper
  2. Beat butter, extract, sugars and egg in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in sifted flour and soda, in two batches. Stir in chocolate.
  3. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls; place on trays about 5cm apart
  4. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on trays.

Notes on this recipe:

  • They’re good biscuits, but they’re a lot firmer and not as soft and chewy as other AWW recipes I’ve made
  • Also the whole “mix this in a small bowl and then transfer stuff to a larger bowl” doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s enough mixture for a large bowl anyway, and that reduces cleanup.

Lemon shortbread (makes 24 wedges)

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 2 tbsp white sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease two oven trays
  2. Beat butter, caster sugar and rind in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the water and sifted flour and semolina, in two batches. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth.
  3. Divide dough in half; shape each half on separate trays into 20cm rounds. Mark each round into 12 wedges; prick with a fork. Pinch edges of rounds with your fingers. Sprinkle top of shortbread with white sugar.
  4. Bake shortbread for 40 minutes or until very pale golden. Cool on trays. Using a sharp knife, cut along the marked lines into wedges.

Notes on this recipe:

  • The lemon peel gives this shortbread, which is already amazing, that little bit extra. It’s going to be hard deciding between regular shortbread and this shortbread.

Gingerbread people (makes 16)

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup or treacle

Royal icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free icing sugar (pure confectioners’ sugar), approximately
  • food colourings

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease three oven trays
  2. Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk in a small bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in sifted dry ingredients and golden syrup/treacle to a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Using a 13cm gingerbread man cutter, cut out shapes from dough; place on trays about 3 cm apart.
  4. Bake gingerbread for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on trays
  5. Meanwhile, make royal icing.
  6. Spoon icing into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tube; decorate shapes as desired.

Royal icing:

  1. Beat egg white in a small bowl with electric mixture until frothy; gradually beat in enough sifted icing sugar to give a mixture of piping consistency. Tint with colourings as desired. Keep royal icing covered with a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out.

Notes on this recipe:

  • On review of this recipe, I realised I messed up. I mean, I never had time to decorate them, and I cut corners in following the recipe because I was TIRED and it was late. I completely missed the “refrigerate for 1 hour” bit and so the dough lacked structural integrity and I had to knead in extra flour. That said, the biscuits have a great level of ginger, and are a lovely soft gingerbread.
  • So if you have less time than required, you can skip the refrigerate bit, but you’ll probably need to knead in some more flour
  • Also, stop with the small bowl thing. Use a medium bowl for this recipe.

Let me know what you think

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