Tag Archives: quick

American Style Cookies – better than shop-bought :-)

11 Mar

Mmmmm, the smell of  freshly-baked cookies comes wafting across the aisles in the bigger supermarkets. Such a warm, enticing smell. “Buy me!” it says. And so you do because they are gorgeous and gooey and not madly expensive.

So what if I tell you that they are easy to make and cheaper than the shop-bought variety? So quick and simple they can be on the table half an hour after you thought of making them. And not only that but this basic recipe lends itself to endless varieties. Choc chip and cherry? Banana chips and berries? Dark choc chip and hazelnut? See, I knew you’d be interested.

INGREDIENTS

 220 g butter, softened
17 0 g dark brown soft sugar
220 g self-raising flour
1 egg
A total of 100 g of any combination of the following: dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped glace cherries, chopped hazelnuts, pecan nuts, pistachio nuts, dried cranberries, dried banana chips, chopped dried apricots….and so on!

METHOD 

  1. Heat the oven to 19- C and line three trays with non-stick baking parchment or reusable silicone liners.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together then add the egg and beat until smooth.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Now add your choc chips/nuts/fruit/whatever and fold in.
  5. Place tablespoon-sized blobs on the trays, spaced well apart. The mixture spreads like crazy when baked and the cookies grow!
  6. Pop into the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You want them to be golden brown not too dark.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack. They will feel squidgy to the touch when you remove them but will firm up as they cool. After about five minutes remove cookies from trays with a fish slice and let them continue cooling on the wire rack.

American Style Cookies

Delicious! And couldn’t be easier.

American Style Cookies

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Intelligent Life Cashewberry Muffins

26 Feb

All sorts of things inspire me to bake. The weather, birthdays and other celebrations, visits from friends.  But this is probably the first time I’ve been inspired by a book. I’ve just finished reading Intelligent Life by Neil Arksey  and loved its combination of factoids and fiction as well as its hillarious off-the-wall characters. There’s a Douglas Adams-esque bonkersness to it which I loved.

Cashewberry Muffin

All the way through I kept thinking about cashew nuts. That’s not quite as random as it sounds because a cashew plays a fairly central role in the story. What got my thinking juices flowing was this – cashews are almost always used as a salted snack or in a savoury dish. Thai-style curries love cashews, as do stir-fried prawns, that sort of thing. So why is it that I use nuts of all descriptions in my baking but not cashews. Hmmm, I thought, I need to come up with something bakeable, yummy and cashewfied. And I think I’ve done it. I decided to head down the muffin road, and started to think about one of my favourite muffin varieties, blueberry. Why not replace the blueberries with cashews? Could work. But then I had a eureka moment. Blueberries and cashews together in a light-as-air muffin? Could that work?

Simple answer. Yes.

What a combination of deliciousness. Two fabulous ingredients together in one glorious muffin. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy with a cup of coffee and a good book.

INGREDIENTS

60 g dried blueberries
60 g roughly crushed cashews – set aside 24 of the nicest ones to decorate
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk

Makes 12 – 14 muffins
Line a muffin tin with paper cases.
Preheat the oven to 200 C

You will need two bowls, one large one smallish

METHOD 

  1. In the small bowl place the melted butter, the eggs and the milk and whisk all together.
  2. In the large bowl sift together all the dry ingredients, then stir through the dried blueberries and the cashews.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients
  4. Now, using a large metal spoon, fold everything together with quick, light movements. No more than about 12 stirs will be necessary. Whatever happens don’t overmix! It will look lumpy and uncombined but don’t worry, it will turn out fine. Overmixing is the enemy of a light and fluffy muffin.
  5. Place spoonfuls in the muffin cases and pop into the oven.
  6. Check after 10 minutes. Muffins will be risen and lightly browned. If still sticky in the middle when tested with a toothpick return to the oven for another couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them.
  7. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack while you make up a little bowl of water icing.

Cashewberry Muffins

ICING

Place 250 g icing sugar in a little bowl and add a teaspoonful of boiled water. Stir to bring the sugar into the liquid, adding water a little at a time until a smooth, thick consistency is achieved. I also added a few drops of blue colouring to the icing on account of the blueberries. Place a blob of icing on each muffin then top with two of the reserved cashew nuts.

Cashewberry muffin

For Neil

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