24 September 2011

Choc chip cookies

Many years ago (we're talking back when we were teens and baking was a terrible mystery to me involving numbers, burning things & general fear) my mate Tina made amazing choc chip cookies and very kindly convinced me it was very simple and gave me her awesome recipe... which turned out to be a clipping from a magazine ad for choc chips!

The recipe I have written in my precious recipe folder goes something like this:

125g butter at room temperature
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup Baking Cocoa
1/2 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self raising flour
250g (one pack) choc chips

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar. Beat in egg, mix well. Stir in sifted cocoa and flours. Add choc chips. Mix well.

3. Roll heaped teaspoonfuls (or dessert spoons for bigger cookies) of mixture into balls. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Press with a fork or fingers into cookie shapes.

4. Bake 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on tray.

By the power of the internets, I also found this more precise version for those dear readers who prefer to be new & improved!

After many years of various cookie recipes, I still go back to this one as it is seriously delicious. 9 out of 10 workmates agree! 1 in 10 workmates are trying to lose weight but still can't resist the deliciousness that is homemade choc chip cookies mwahahahaha. Also, you do need to warn nut allergy sufferers that it is forboden on account of the peanut butter!

Here is one of the most recent batches, made for nightshift and eaten prematurely whilst watching the rugby with the boy (yes, he was allowed to eat some too).

As for following recipes, per se... I use whichever (dark or milk) chocolate chips or just broken up bits of chocolate to be honest. Also I never have worked out how one is supposed to "measure out" peanut butter without making an almighty mess so I usually just scoop out "some" from the jar - no two batches have ever been the same, but that's the fun part!

19 September 2011

Coffee and Hazelnut Yorkshire Puddings

I had every intention of baking some mini-muffins the night before the picnic, both to inaugurate the long-forgotten brand new mini-muffin tray bought on a panic eyed grocery store late nighter, and to have, you know, mini-muffins to bring to the picnic.

Time got away from me during the (first) day (off I've had in ages), although I did get a chance to spot a nice recipe on page 26 of The Australian Women's Weekly mini-book aptly named "muffins" (reprinted by popular demand) for coffee hazelnut muffins - which had too many ingredients, including TWO types of flour AND hazelnut meal (pfft, guffaw). The hazelnut frosting - more ingredients! how?! - looked divine but I was struck with a case of the afternoon catnaps. I have way too many of those TAWW mini-books from aforementioned late night grocery store antics. They made a good nesty pillow. Groggy but determined, I managed to narrow down an internet search later that evening to a few recipe ideas, particularly liking the four-ingredient recipe at this very cool baking blog. I then fell asleep and didn't wake up until picnic o'clock the next day.


So in true style, half breakfasting/espresso machining and half baking/inventing I set about destroying a perfectly good egg by mixing it with (a large) half of a jar of nutella & an innocently tepid shot of espresso and creating cold fusion, erm, "caffeinated mixing bowl scrambled egg". With that revelation and an internal monologue deal to forfeit coiffing and making upping, I set about inventing and baking:

Coffee and Hazelnut Yorkshire Puddings
(or, Coffee and Hazelnut Mini-Muffin attempt #2)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

Beat an egg until light and fluffy.

Mix in an unmeasured (blast!) amount of nutella - say, two generous dessertspoonfuls with additional teaspoon/dessertspoon scrapings from the small nutella jar insides - until well combined and glossy.

In said residualated nutella jar, mix a teaspoon of instant coffee with a splish splosh (please, say it in a Flight of the Conchords voice) of tap water - re-lid and shake it, shake it (like a polaroid picture, ooh ooh) to dissolve all the jar-wall nutella into the liquid. Add this to the above mix and stir in well.

Ponder about the difference between imperial vs metric teaspoons (?) and then add one (metric) level teaspoonful after another of plain flour to the mix, mixing until you have added roughly 6 and a half metric teaspoons of flour or until you have what you think could possibly be muffin mix.

Add a handful of chocolate chips to taste.

Spray your mini-muffin tin with olive oil spray.

Put a generous tablespoon of the mix into each mini-muffin port, then top with whole coffee beans (I left some without in an attempt to be kid-friendly).

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees for most, 185-190 for mine) for ten to fifteen minutes, or until you are dressed, have found your picnic rug and assembled some cheese, crackers and plastic plates in a bag.

Remove from oven and marvel at how you have unintentionally created coffee and hazelnut miniature yorkshire puddings, turn them out onto some kitchen paper on a rack and taste-test them, with validation from your significant other (who is employing some fine duck-and-cover in the other room, away from the "baking"). Find your sunnies, grab a water bottle then put the c-a-h yp's into a box, bring them to the park and enjoy sharing them with your friends in the impossible sunshine. Remark at how adorably bouncy your friend's 2-year-old angel becomes upon discovering her previously unrequited love of roasted whole coffee beans! Seriously cute!

Perhaps in future I will take the time to add another egg, tinker with self-raising flour, bother to chill a real espresso shot and consider adding milk to the mix. Experimental cooking is bliss! Bring on attempt #3...after I try some other new things out first...

ADDIT: Here's batch #3... getting better...