recipes

Crunch

Chocolate almond cookies

Done with shopping? Me too. The last of my gifts are coming from the peace and solitude of the kitchen, sans parking lots, harried faces and never-ending landfill.

These cookies epitomise pure cooking escapism – easy to prepare, high yielding and incredibly toothsome (love that word, it sounds like a descriptor that would horrify a dentist). Depending on how reasonably stocked your pantry is, you may not even need to leave the house to get your batches underway.

And just to give you that little extra bang for your baking buck, the mix can be rolled into half-size balls, for twice the output. Put a couple of choc chips on top as soon as they are lifted from the oven and you will end up with at least 30 of these:

chip-topped cookies

Start with the almond topped ones, or build on this mix and design your own.

125g softened butter
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
almonds to decorate

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir in flour and cocoa, then fold through chocolate chips. (The mix will be quite stiff)
  5. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and place on greased baking trays. Flatten slightly with fingers.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked. Cool on a wire rack. (makes about 20)

Postscript: If you have some bags and left over tags, you’ve got something to hand to your colleagues or neighbours over the next few days.

cookie bags

recipes

Crumbs

There’s nothing like running up the front steps, flinging the front door open and inhaling the aroma of baked goods cooling on the bench top. School bags lie abandoned on the floor, while wolf-like ravenous appetites are sated by mouthfuls of crumbly, chocolately warm muffins.

This is a scenario that unfolds at approximately 4.00pm on an organised good day in our home.

You don’t necessarily need  post-school hunger to enjoy fresh muffins, as any mid-morning coffee aficionado will attest, and you could do a lot worse than scoffing one of these in the car on the arduous week-night commute. Simple to prepare – as they basically comprise pantry staples and anything to be used up – muffins are a lovely way to feel productive and contented in the kitchen.

If you want your next batch to resemble those photographed, see below, but for variation eg banana, walnut, blueberry, apple and so on, begin with the first five ingredients and then add your odds and ends.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups SR flour
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk or dark – your call)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease muffin tins.
  2. Mix together in a large bowl oil, egg, milk and sugar.
  3. Add the flour to the wet mix and stir to combine briefly – don’t over mix.
  4. Add raspberries and chocolate chips and mix through.
  5. Spoon into prepared tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until brown/inserted skewer is clean on removal.
  6. Cool in tin before turning out.
    (makes 12 muffins)

Postscript: Muffins do not have great longevity, so are best eaten within a day or two – we have never had to deal with that issue here…