Recipe: Classic Cookies with White Chocolate and Macadamia

I usually wouldn’t bother posting a recipe you could find in 6 million other places on the internet, but this recipe is almost foolproof, and you can substitute the chocolate and nuts for just about any other nut or yummy thing you wanna chuck in. I’ve adapted it for UK cooks, and it’s easily doubled for a bumper sized batch. Enjoy!

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies
(makes 15-24)

150g SR Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 large egg
Pinch of Salt
85g Butter
85g Golden caster sugar
45g Light brown soft sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla essense
100g White chocolate chips
100g Macadamia nuts (roughly chopped)

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).

In one bowl, sift your flour, baking powder and salt together. In a second bowl, cream your butter, both sugars and vanilla essense together thoroughly until smooth. Then beat in your egg, again until the batter is smooth. Next, gradually add your dry flour mix, beating well as you go.

You can use chocolate chips, or just grab a regular bar of chocolate and chop it up. Also, a cheat’s way of chopping nuts is to pop them in a sandwich bag and wallop them with a rolling pin. It’s easy, low mess, and give you lovely rough chunks of nut in your cookies. However you prepare your additional yummies, add them to the batter now and give it a good stir with a big spoon.

Now, spoon out your dough onto a sheet of clingfilm, wrap it up tight, and pop it in the fridge for a good 15 minutes. Wander off, have a cuppa. Then line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, and between your hands, roll chunks of dough into balls and space them a good 2″ apart (these babies really spread!). I like to make them about ping-pong ball sized, but there’s a wide margin of error either way – it just depends how big you like your cookies!

Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the outside of the cookies are just starting to brown (the middle should still be soft). If you like your cookies crunchy all the way through, pop them onto a wire tray to cool for a good 30 minutes before storing them, but if you like them soft and chewy, cool them for 2-3 minutes only, and then put them into an airtight container lined with a piece of paper towel.

NB: I have done a few variations on this recipe; dark chocolate and hazelnut works very well (especially if you replace about 25g of the flour with cocoa powder), as does rolled oats and walnut, though I would advise using only 40-50g of rolled oats, as too much will dry out the cookie dough.

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Recipe: Ovaltine cupcakes

Welcome to 2012! The year end was lovely, and every day since is matching up well too, so I’m happy. I have some wonderful friends who I intend to keep, and I cooked these for the party and they were universally enjoyed, so I hope you like them too!

This recipe is very simple, and incredibly yummy. They really do taste like Ovaltine! In a perfect world, I’d have called them Ovalteenies, but something of that name already exists, alas. They are gorgeous on their own, but in case you’re a frosting addict, I’ve included some links to frosting recipes below that would compliment them well.

Ovaltine cupcakes; naked as nature intended

Ovaltine Cupcakes

Ingredients:

175g Self-raising flour
175g Castor sugar
1/2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
125g Butter or margerine
2 Medium eggs
180ml Milk
1 tsp Vanilla essence
125g Ovaltine

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C (375F). Soften your butter or substitute in the microwave or in a small pan until just melted (it’s a good idea to do this first as you want to give it a couple of minutes to cool – if you add hot butter to your batter, the eggs will curdle).

Measure out the milk into a jug and add the Ovaltine and vanilla essence, mixing it well with a fork or a whisk until the powder is completely dissolved. Then mix your flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together, and sift them into a large bowl. Add your eggs, butter, and the Ovaltine/milk/vanilla mixture. Beat well and fast for a couple of minutes. If the mixture appears to curdle, add a little flour and mix well until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

Line two cupcake trays with paper cases, and fill with the mixture, taking care not to overfill them. Bake on the top shelf of your oven for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire tray, and frost at your leisure. Peanut butter or butterscotch frosting go great with these cakes, or just munch them as is!

Recipe: Cinnamon Buttermilk Loaf

As an English person and a denizen of the internet, I spend a great deal of my baking time wrestling with American recipes. The weights are kooky, there are wierd ingredients you can’t always get over here, and things that are called one thing are sometimes something else entirely. This recipe came from a friend of a friend via a system of Chinese whispers, and I’ve wrangled with it to the point where I think it’s simple for non-USians. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Buttermilk Loaf

250g Plain flour
1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of soda
60ml Vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
240ml Semi-skimmed milk
1 tablespoon of White vinegar or lemon juice
250g Granulated sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon of Ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of Walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

First, preheat your oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 5) and grease an 8″ by 4″ loaf tin with butter.

Now, add the white vinegar or lemon juice to the milk, give it a little stir and set it aside for at least 5 minutes. In the original recipe, you would just use 250ml of buttermilk, but it’s not always easy to find and it’s never cheap here in the UK, so this is a perfect alternative.

Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, mix 175g of the sugar with the oil. Add your milk/vinegar buttermilk substitute, and your egg, and mix it together thoroughly. Then, add the dry mixture a third at a time, and mix until wet and lump-free.

In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon. Pour half the batter into the loaf tin, and the evenly cover it with half the cinnamon sugar mixture. Then pour over the rest of the batter, and then the rest of the cinnamon sugar. Lightly swirl the batter with a knife or a small spatula. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts. (NB: You can also put some extra chopped nuts between the layers of batter, if you like things extra nutty).

Pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until a cake skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack. Eat as it is, or spread with butter. Perfect with a cuppa for afternoon tea!

Recipe: Apple and Kiwi Crumble

I am going to stop talking about NaNoWriMo. I stopped writing a couple of days ago, and I really can’t find it in myself to start again. Don’t judge me; it was probably the right decision to make. Anyway, here’s the dessert I made tonight. It is yumtastic!

Apple and Kiwi Crumble

For the filling:
1 large Bramley apple
2 Kiwi fruit
Pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cinnamon
Generous dribble of Calvados, or similar apple brandy
2oz white granulated sugar

For the crumble:
75g cold butter
50g demerara sugar
100g plain flour
50g rolled oats
20g sweetened coconut

First, preheat your oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 5).

Now, peel, core and slice your apple thinly, and lay half the slices in the bottom of a pie-dish or casserole. Sprinkle on about a third of the sugar. Then peel and thinly slice your kiwi fruit, layering the slices on top of the sugared apple. Sprinkle another third of the sugar on top of the kiwi. Then place the remainder of your apple slices on the top, sprinkle with the last of the white sugar. Douse the fruit with your liberal splash of brandy, dust with the cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.

Now for the crumble topping. Take the butter out of the fridge and immediately cut it into small cubes. Place it in a large bowl with the sugar, flour, oats and coconut and rub them together with your fingers until they look like breadcrumbs. The butter will heat up as you rub it, so break up any large lumps of mixture you find. If it seems particularly wet, you can add a little extra flour, or pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes before putting it in the oven.

The last thing to do is put a thick layer of the crumble mix on top of the fruit, making sure to go right up to the edges and also that all the fruit is completely covered. Pop it in the oven for 40-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the topping starts to brown and the fruit starts bubbling around the sides of the dish.

Feeds 4-6, serve with thick or whipped cream, vanilla ice-cream or custard, or just on it’s own. Perfect winter warmer, and dead simple!

And here’s what it looked like seconds before it went in mah belleh: