Time for tea

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An afternoon treat…

It’s comforting to sit down and relax with a cup of tea or coffee, especially if you have a special cup or mug.  Consciously sit down and enjoy the ritual of coffee making and drinking.  Bake your favourite biscuits and ask a friend to join you….

 

Cookies

Ingredients

  • 200g flour

  • 100g sugar - I like a 50/50 caster/ muscovado mix

  • 100g butter

  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • a generous handful of whatever nuts are in the pantry

  • 100g dark chocolate (optional)

  • a slosh of milk (dairy or alternative)

I like to keep my cookie recipe quick and simple. These take about 30 minutes from pantry to plate so I like to keep a batch in the cupboard for last minute visitors to my pottery. They’re also great for using up any leftover nuts and seeds.

I’ve made lots of different variations. Double chocolate chip cookies are rather moreish, adding a generous tablespoon of cocoa powder to the mix; orange extract is an interesting twist on a classic recipe but when paired with dark chocolate and hazelnuts, we experience a familiar, comforting taste.

The recipe can easily be made vegan but substituting the butter for a non dairy alternative. My favourite variation of this recipe uses high quality dark chocolate and macadamia nuts. (I tend to make double quantities otherwise somehow …ahem… they disappear far too quickly!)

Start by pre-heating your oven to around 180 Celsius (200 if not fan oven). You don’t want your oven to be too high as your cookies would cook too quickly and would crumble, I like cookies to be a little bit chewy.

Measure out your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together. Hand mixing works best for this as you don’t want to end up with a smooth paste - cookies are supposed to have texture! You will likely have a grainy mixture, especially if you have used muscovado sugar - this is perfectly normal.

Next slowly mix in the flour, adding just a little at a time. The mixture will start to get quite tough and you may want to use your fingers to continue mixing. If the mixture gets too tough to handle, I add a small slosh of milk, Make sure you only add a little at a time or the mixture will become too wet to handle, I add around a desert spoonful of milk at a time, only if needed.

Once the base mixture is combined, the fun begins! For this recipe, I will be using dark chocolate, vanilla extract and macadamia nuts, but you can use whatever you fancy.

Macademia nuts can be added to the mixture whole but for some larger nuts, for example Brazil nuts, I would recommend chopping them into smaller pieces. Mix these into the mixture and add the vanilla extract.

Break the chocolate into pieces - larger pieces work better, especially if you want your cookies to have a gooey centre. Mix the broken chocolate gently into the mixture. When all ingredients are combined, cover a clean kitchen counter in flour and roll out your mixture and using a cookie cutter (or jam jar lid), cut out your biscuits. If you added a lot of milk earlier, this might be tricky but you can easily use your hands to mould your cookie shapes.

Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and space your cookies out, leaving gaps between - they will expand. I suggest baking for around 10 minutes to start with, the longer they stay in the oven, the crispier they will get. I like mine a little chewy so tend to take them out after around 12 minutes. They will continue to harden on the cooling rack.

Once your house is filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies, expect friends and neighbours to appear - best to pop the kettle on in anticipation.

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Vicky Ware