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Baking biscuits, making pasta and more at KitchenAid London:
What’s the first thing you do when you get a new kitchen gadget? I confess to being a real gadget-phobe in the kitchen and tend to recreate old favourites for at least the first month of ownership. At that point, as I tire of whatever ‘old favourite’ I’ve dragged up, the gadget lives or dies when I try to do something new. If it doesn’t work, I’ll happily blame my tools and give up. I certainly don’t normally try making a new recipe – even delicious-sounding orange and walnut biscuits.
A stand mixer like the KitchenAid Artisan is a great example of the sort of kitchen wizardry that challenges me. It comes with so many useful features that you may think you need a degree in KitchenAidery to make full use of your new workhorse. The worst possible outcome is that you put it away in the cupboard and never really get to grips with the features. That’s where the KitchenAid Cookery School comes into its own. By learning how to cook with your new KitchenAid Artisan with the support of professionals, you’ll feel confident with new skills – be that making fresh rainbow pasta, homemade sauces or delicious orange and walnut rye biscuits (cookies if you are from the USA).
I went along to KitchenAid London to try one of their courses for myself and thoroughly enjoyed a morning of making great fresh food, learning more about the KitchenAid range and eating rather too well.
We started by making fresh pasta – something I’ve done before in Sicily where I learnt to make Lolli and Cavatieddi pasta by hand and using a pasta machine at various cookery classes across London.
This time, we used the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer to make the dough, left it to rest for half an hour and then used the same stand mixer with the pasta making attachment to make fresh tagliatelle without tears.
Each of us had a different natural colouring to make the pretty rainbow colour – beetroot, spinach, turmeric and tomato paste which was mixed into the dough. We were all childishly delighted at the ‘rolling’ process – one person vowed to have a pasta party when she got home, getting her guests to make their own.
The accompanying pasta sauces were just as straightforward made with the help of various Kitchen Aid gadgets.
I do have serious kitchen envy now and really want a ‘Chef’s Sign’ in my new kitchen – it’s a unit with two deep induction cooking plates so that you can deep fry, steam, bake, boil and cook at very low temperatures (e.g. water bath cooking) with precise temperatures. Our lovely instructor Lisa gave us helpful tips throughout the demo and cooking event.
‘Make sure you cook your tomato puree or it will taste tinny’
‘Don’t worry too much about blending in all the colour into the pasta dough – it will blend through when it goes through the rollers’
‘Don’t oversalt if you are adding parmesan at the end, it has a salty taste and you’ll end up with an over-seasoned dish’
I have to say my favourite part of the event came right at the end when we made some delicious biscuits using a variation on Lisa’s own favourite ‘basic biscuit’ mixture. Orange and walnut rye biscuit dough was made in minutes using the Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer, then baked to perfection in the Kitchen Aid ovens.
I’m planning to try making my own version of these biscuits (with different flavourings) once I’ve used up the remainder of the frozen biscuit dough I now have stored at home.
In the meanwhile, here’s the recipe in case you want to try at home. And, whether you are already an owner of some KitchenAid equipment or are considering getting some – or simply want some help learning to cook, do check out the classes on offer at the KitchenAid Experience Store in London. Every participant gets to try cooking their own dishes, using some of the best equipment in the world and with the support of excellent trainers.
Orange and Walnut biscuits with rye flour and coconut sugar
- 225 g unsalted butter softened
- 100 g caster sugar
- 70 g coconut sugar
- 50 g chopped walnuts
- 1 large orange zested
- 350 g plain flour
- 100 g rye flour
- 1 egg whisked
Line two baking sheets with baking paper
Cream the butter and sugars together until light, soft and fluffy
Add in the chopped walnuts
Zest the orange directly into the bowl to avoid losing any of the essential oil, then mix the ingredients to distribute evenly
Add in the flour and egg, mix gently to form a dough
Once the mixture binds into a dough, remove from the bowl and shape into a tube
At this stage, you can choose to cut off half of the dough and freeze it to use later. Wrap the dough you intend using in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to rest
Preheat the oven to 185c
Unwrap the dough and cut 'biscuit' discs to a maximum of 1-inch thickness
Lay the biscuits on the baking sheet with a gap in between to allow them to spread a little
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden
Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
Store in an airtight tin
Disclosure – I was a guest of the KitchenAid London store. With many thanks to Amanda Sloman and the team for such a fun morning.