27 May 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can tell you that it has taken me years to get this recipe right. And at that my self deprecating, self destruct button will tell me it's not perfect.

But heck, its pretty damn close.

There has always been a need in me to get the perfect chocolate chip cookie. You know the kind. The kind that's crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside and has the right amount of chips per bite. A proper cookie. Too crisp and you are heading into biscuit territory. Too thick and soft and you're on the road toward scone town. It's all a bit of a doozey.

But when you finally, one day decide, that HERE are the ingredients and HERE are their measurements and this feels like IT IS GOING TO MAKE the best-chocolate-chip-cookie-you-have-ever-made.. Breeeeaaattthhh... it just makes you all sorts of tingly! And then when those ingredients combine and actually give you the best chocolate chip cookie you have ever made... you feel the planets align. The universe turns in your favour. The problems of your world are nothing and you look in awe at your creation. And smile.

Because you did it. And your family know you did it because they eat them two at a time and complain when they are gone. And the batch you brought out as testers to the BBQ were passed around like some gate way drug, with folks watching the box and counting how many people were inline before it got back around to them.

And you ensure the guests know that you MADE them, they were not bought... **insert blatant indignation here.

You did it. Because you are that freakin' awesome. But also cautious.. because they are not that perfect.

Not. Just. Yet.

Chocolate Chip Cookie
-makes about 30 

113g soft, salted butter
95g 100% vegetable fat or shortening at room temperature (I use the Cookeen brand)
200g white sugar
220g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
2tsp vanilla
452g self raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g + of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and fat together until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add both the eggs and then the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.
Add the chocolate chips and mix until it resembles the picture above. This mix is not sticky, but more of a playdoh consistency.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls. I can fit 9 cookies on one baking sheet I own and 6 cookies on another.. Just make sure when you are spacing them, you give them enough room to spread out.

I can make about 30 palm of your hand sized cookies, you make them bigger or smaller, just adjust your spacing and time baking. Smaller cookies will take a shorter cooking time.

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be and leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.

I mean eat five or six as soon as they come out of the oven, warm with a glass of milk if you want but ideally you should wait.. They are worth those extra few minutes!

There is nothing nutritional about these cookies. I have no idea how long they would last given they haven't made it through a day in my house yet. I am assuming you would need to keep them in a sealed container, with a thumb print lock, in a magic cupboard that is also protected by a dragon, if you want to hang on to them for any time.

They are really that good. And if you decided to sandwich two of them with whole bean vanilla ice cream, I think you'd be on to a winner there.

Perfectly delicious. Have a great weekend!!

20 May 2016

Gingerbread And Apricot Loaf

I handed up my final assignments with college, took some much needed downtime in the sunshine with my family and baked this loaf cake last weekend.

I went to work, did my job and caught up with some friends during the week. Then yesterday I was involved in a road traffic accident, where an absolutely reckless driver tried to over take two cars in front of him, with me coming against him, and he lost control of his car and smashed into me.

Pretty crap right.

But then look at all those positives I have had. Because that's what I have to think of this week. The positives. Like being part of this wonderful baking group and getting to bake some wonderful new recipes and concoctions I would have never tried before. And having some serious downtime with my family by forcing myself to rest up and heal.

These things may be little any other week but this week they are the biggest things to me. Cars can be replaced... my family, my friends both off and online, well, they cannot.

This cake was easy out. No fuss.. just put it all together and bobs your uncle. I had to make one change because of a stupid mistake on my part. I knew there was a jar of yellow/orangey jam in the fridge. My minds eye assumed it to be marmalade, like the recipe called for...

It wasn't.

It was apricot so I have substituted the marmalade that should have been in Maida's Recipe for apricot jam instead. Still tasted great though... and that's all the matters in these things!

Loaf Cake

280g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp rum
125g butter
125ml honey
half a jar of apricot jam
2  large free range eggs

Line a 9 inch loaf pan with a loaf liner of parchment.
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4.
In a bowl sift all the dry ingredients together.
Cream the butter with a electric mixer (or by hand if you're strong armed and not lazy like me!). Add the honey and mix. Add the jam and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go and only mixing until blended through.
Add half the dry ingredients and mix.
Then add in one egg to just mixed, scraping down the sides as you go. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and the other egg.
Fold in the rum and spoon out into the tin. Level the top of the mix.

Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven. Check that it's done by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake. It should come out clear.

Cool on the rack in the tin for 10 minutes then flip it out and allow to cool fully upside down.

It's this very pale, honey coloured, ginger flavoured loaf with a warming sensation. It was so delicious the following day, toasted and smothered in butter. I am very partial to next-day-loaf and especially a loaf cake that can be toasted, so this one checked a good few boxes for me!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!

Enjoy it, whatever you decide to do and if your plan is to do nothing at all, be sure to enjoy that also!!

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