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Chocolate chip peanut butter oat cookies

Tomorrow it’s Ealing Half Marathon Day! Therefore today I’m going to eat cookies! I am really looking forward to running tomorrow, although I have not prepared as carefully and rigorously as I could have done. I have run quite a bit, and done some long runs in the last few weeks, so hopefully it will come good on the day.

Setting up the finish line today in Lammas Park!
The race village takes shape.

I have made this recipe twice now. It is from the Sainsbury’s site, by Mitzie Wilson, and can be found by clicking here. It’s very easy and quick to make. It would be good recipe for children because the easiest way to mix everything together is with your hands. I also think it is an ideal on the run snack cookie, as it is full of carbs and protein. Next time I’m on a long run I think I might try this out! I will probably freeze a few for this very purpose.

I made the first batch faithfully following the recipe (apart from using dark brown sugar both times as that was what I had). The second time around I adjusted it slightly. I never thought I would say this but you CAN actually have too many chocolate chips 😂. There were so many the first time around I had a lot of trouble getting them all to stick in the cookie dough. Second time around I reduced the amount from 100g to 80g and still had to press them in individually to use them all up.

These are nice quality choc chips, but any are ok

Second time I used a different type of oats – the first time I had some very classy jumbo oats, and used up the last of them. Second time I used regular porridge oats (the cheapest ones from Lidl as it happens). I think it actually works better with the cheap ones as the jumbo oats don’t stick together quite so easily. But either is fine.

In the oven
Out of the oven

Further adaptations: I also sprinkled just the tiniest bit of salt on top of each cookie before they went in the oven because chocolate, peanuts and salt go well together. I also reduced the cooking time by 1 minute to make them a bit more squidgy – they were fine with 15 mins, but almost getting on the dry side.

Well – it worked! Bursting with chocolate chips and peanuts, and with the nuttiness of the oats and tang of salt they are a Taste Sensation!

I can highly recommend this recipe; quick, easy and very tasty.

My version of the chocolate chip peanut butter oat cookies! :

Ingredients:

200g crunchy peanut butter (you could use smooth too)

100g dark brown sugar (or whatever brown sugar you have)

1 egg

100g porridge oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

80g dark chocolate chips (but milk would work too)

Before starting get 2 baking sheets and line with baking parchment. Put the oven on to Gas Mark 4, 350 F or 180 C.

Beat the peanut butter, sugar and the egg with an electric whisk until well blended. Add the oats, baking powder and chocolate chips. You can mix with a wooden spoon but it’s easier to squash together with your hands. Form into 16 balls and flatten slightly on the baking sheets. If you like sprinkle the tiniest specks of salt on each.

Bake for 14-15 minutes. Let them cool for 5-6 minutes before transferring to a metal rack to finish cooling completely.

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Buttered popcorn cookies – and Sunday run day

WordPress is the blog platform I use, and while it’s only one of many of course, the variety of blogs on it is vast. Sometimes I like to browse around them, and occasionally I find one that seems interesting, and then I follow it! Just like many of my lovely readers have done with my little blog – thank you!

This recipe came from one such blog, GreatEightFriends. As the name suggests it’s a blog written by a group of friends who entertain amongst themselves and share their recipes. This recipe sounded so straightforward I thought I had to try it. I’ve never thought of popcorn as a cookie ingredient before, but it really works! You can find the recipe by clicking here.

I did make a little adjustment- as usual! I added about half a cup of chopped toasted pecans. I think it was definitely an enhancement, but I’m sure the cookies are also delicious without them.

When I added the four cups of popcorn to the cookie mixture, plus the chopped nuts, I did wonder whether I’d overdone it and the mixture would actually hold together. But a determined bit of spatula work and it did all stick together. Using a scoop (like an ice cream scoop) made it easy to get the cookies the same size, and also helped to keep them in a round shape.

Dough mixture – crammed with popcorn and nuts!

The salty sweet flavour traditionally associated with popcorn is really yummy, and the soft cookie with the crunchy texture of the popcorn and nuts is a fab combination. They look attractive too with the bits of popcorn poking through the tops.

Altogether a very easy recipe with great results.

As today is Sunday I went out for a longer run this morning as I usually do. My run today was a virtual 10k for the Osterley 10k (organised by Ealing Half marathon) which would normally have been yesterday at Osterley Park. Of course that was cancelled for 2020 which is sad, but we seem to be getting used to all that now. For me the Osterley 10k has been the real start to the Christmas season in the last few years. I’ve done the run with friends from Quit the Gym in the morning – and then rushed home to get changed for a Questors choir dress rehearsal for our Christmas concert in the evening. Both events cancelled for this year. Let’s hope that things are back closer to normal in 2021.

This year the virtual run is raising money for the Ealing Food Bank. More and more families and individuals in the UK are living with food insecurity, or food poverty. I am thankful that my family have enough to eat, and I don’t have to worry about whether I can afford the heating and the food bills. Especially at this time of year, when everyone is thinking about spending money on special food and gifts, it is very hard for those families on the brink. If you can maybe try and support your local food bank if you don’t already?

Chocolate rye cookies

This recipe is from Guardian food writer Annalisa Barbieri on her blog.

It sounded intriguing and very rich! It seems a while since I made something this indulgent, but hey, I think everyone needs a bit of this kind of thing at the moment..

I didn’t have any dark rye flour so I used white rye, and I’m sure the flavour is less intense because of that. I didn’t want to buy any more flour until I’ve used what I have, but once I have dark rye I’ll try it again!

The chocolate was the inspiration – and that inspiration also came from an article by Annalisa last weekend. I learned that cooking chocolate is cheaper than regular chocolate because it doesn’t have VAT on it, not because it’s inferior quality, which is what I always vaguely believed.

So off to the shops to stock up! A bag of Guittard dark (63%) chocolate drops and a couple of bars of Green and Blacks dark (70%) chocolate later and I was ready to go. Quite apart from the taste (and cost) the great thing about both of these chocolates is the fact that there is no soya in them. I’m always on the lookout for soya free food as someone in the family is allergic to soya. It’s amazing how many everyday food has soya in it. Anyway enough of that, and onto the cookies.

For me one of the best things about home baking is the fact that there are no weird ingredients. No chemicals. And this recipe has no soya in it either!

There was nearly a disaster at the beginning of the process when I put the gas on under an empty frying pan instead of a pan of water and the bowl of butter and chocolate. I couldn’t understand why the butter and chocolate wasn’t even beginning to melt after a few minutes… and then realised the frying pan was almost red hot and the water in the saucepan was still stone cold! Luckily I haven’t ruined the frying pan. 😀

It’s a great recipe, straightforward and easy to do. And it totally worked! The timing of the baking was a little tricky. The time in the recipe said 8-10 minutes. I have 2 ovens so used both for quicker results. What I’ve realised is that one of those ovens is slightly hotter than the other. So some cookies came out more squishy than others. But that’s ok! Because they are Yummy and Delicious!

Mixing the melted chocolate/butter into the eggs/sugar.

Annalisa writes that her recipe made ‘about 20 cookies’ – I managed to squeeze out 31, which according to an online nutrition calculator, means each one was 13g carbs and 178 kcal. Well that’s not so bad is it?! (As long as you can stick to one. Which I have so far today.)

Before – scooped out with an ice cream scoop
And after! A little sprinkle of salt to enhance the visual appeal and the taste.

Overall – this recipe is definitely a keeper, and I will be printing it out as well as bookmarking it online.

Spitzbuben aka Linzer cookies (aka Jammy Dodgers)

My Christmas cookie baking continued last weekend with these classic Swiss/Austrian/German cookies. They are essentially a buttery shortbread type biscuit sandwiched together with raspberry jam. The recipe came from one of my baking magazines, but there’s a link here. The basic biscuit/cookie is a shortbread recipe, made by rubbing in the butter to the flour. I have also seen recipe where the fat was creamed with the sugar first. I think you could use any plain cookie recipe that you roll out, and just follow the principles of a sandwich biscuit. There are chocolate versions out there too, but I don’t think that they are very traditional!

The word Spitzbuben means little rascal or bratty little boy, and originally the top biscuits had 3 little holes that represented eyes and mouth and must be the origins of the the Jammy Dodger or Smily Face biscuit with a face.

Next time I would make these smaller. The recipe said it made 30 – my version made about 18. That was because my smallest cutter was not actually that small. There will be a next time because I have got myself some teeny cutters now!

The big version went down well at work though, and even more importantly with my chief taster Charlotte!

I think Charlotte likes them!

This has been a short write up because it’s taken me a week and I’ve just been so busy! Oh yes – Christmas is round the corner!

Cherry-Almond pinwheel cookies

They look really pretty!

Back in the kitchen! While I was in the USA I found a great baking magazine: Taste of Home Holiday Baking. Baking for Christmas is a BIG thing over in the States, and I already have a holiday cookie magazine that I got last time I was there a couple of years ago. I picked this recipe to start off the autumn/winter season of baking (not for Christmas but for Monday – because Monday needs cookies) as one of the ingredients is cherry extract and I happen to have a small bottle of exactly that in the cupboard.

It’s not all cookies – there are some delicious looking pie and cheesecake recipes too…
This one has some great recipes in too.

The recipe can be found online here, so you don’t have to search for the magazine! It was an easy recipe, but somehow took all day. This was because the instructions involved a lot of chilling the dough. This was actually quite convenient as I was somewhat busy yesterday. However chilling it for the time suggested resulted in a dough that was really hard to roll out, and next time I will shorten the chilling times so the dough is a bit softer. The instructions say to roll out the dough between sheets of waxed paper. I have to say that this is a great tip – it means that you don’t have to add a lot of flour while rolling out. Waxed paper is not commonly used in the UK but you can buy it on this site. Baking parchment might work well too, although waxed paper is thicker and probably stronger for rolling.

Ready for chilling – but not for too long!

I added a drop of almond essence to the almond portion too just for a little more taste emphasis. I could only find fairly coarse sugar crystals meant for coffee, and they weren’t white, but they worked really well for rolling the dough cylinder in before cutting in to slices. They give a lovely crunch to the cookies.

Sliced and ready to bake. I tried to squish them slightly into a more round shape before baking.

The recipe makes a lot of cookies – estimate 5 dozen – my batch was just short of that but there were plenty. Enough to take some to work, and give away a load too. And still some left for me!

Although this recipe as quite a bit of a fiddle and effort (at least compared to the type baking I usually do) it was definitely worth it in terms of taste and visual impact. They look amazing, and taste good too. The texture is biscuity, chewy and crunchy. You could vary the flavours and colours too.

I managed to get some to Charlotte (aka Chief Taste Tester) and this was her verdict:

“Oh my Emily your swirly biscuits are amazing as soon as I tasted my mouth went to heaven” Well! No higher praise could I possibly ask for.

The recipe page in the magazine version.

Look out for more recipes from my new magazine – I’m sure I will do some more!

Chocolate chip cookies

I have an interesting Instagram feed. I follow a very diverse bunch of people, some of whom I know personally and some of whom I only know through IG, and will likely never meet in real life. That’s ok, because I just like looking at the small section of their lives they choose to share on IG. One person I follow likes baking – especially pies (and sourdough). The pies are things of beauty. I don’t make too many pies, in fact I can’t remember the last time I did, but I like to dream about making pies, because there’s something about pies… In fact that has reminded me of a great radio programme I heard recently all about pies. The Instagrammer is @Sourdoughpie – look him up on IG! (Even the word pie has a certain comforting ring to it…). 😉

BUT – I digress. This post is not about pies – it’s about the nation’s favourite cookie – the Chocolate Chip Cookie. And it’s that time of the month again – Staff Meeting Monday. Every little bit of cash helps towards my fundraising, and my very generous and lovely colleagues are quite partial to baked goods to help them through the meeting.

The following recipe is from @sourdoughpie’s IG feed from a week ago. (He doesn’t only make pies).

Yes – 5 – FIVE bars of chocolate!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients (makes 72 cookies):

250g butter

1 cup brown muscovado sugar (I used 2/3 light brown and 1/3 dark)

1 cup caster sugar (I used golden)

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups flour

2 tbsp corn flour/starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

500g dark chocolate chips/chunks – it’s easier to buy them already in chunks, but I chopped up 5 bars of chocolate!

Sugar – a mixture of light and dark muscovado and golden caster

Method:

Cream butter and sugar very well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Fold in the dry ingredients carefully. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Rest in the fridge for 24 hours – up to 72 hours.

Bring to room temperature when ready to bake. Preheat the oven to Gas Mk 4; 180° C.

Scoop out cookie sized portions with a scooper thing (‘disher’) and bake until bottoms/edges are golden brown and the tops are still soft. This took about 11-12 minutes. The uncooked dough balls can be frozen too.

Optional: top with sea salt flakes.

Uncooked balls of choc chip cookie dough – they can be frozen at this stage. Defrost to room temperature before baking
There’s plenty of chocolate in these cookies. I used 70% dark chocolate but you could use good quality milk chocolate.

These cookies have a good texture and flavour. As always using quality ingredients, especially the chocolate, makes a huge difference. Although you could halve the recipe quite easily if you don’t want to make 72 cookies it’s actually quite nice to have some stashed in the freezer for those cookie emergencies!

PS: I’m pleased to say that my left leg seems to have recovered from yesterday’s run. A good sleep and some ibuprofen has done the trick. Have a great week everyone!