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Potato Crisp Cookies

potato chip cookiesYup. This week’s recipe is cookies made with ready salted crisps because a) I’m stuck in the house due to ill health and bored and b) why the hell not? January is a time of indecision for most people and I like to provide the answers to questions like ‘do I want crisps or a biscuit?’ with a literal ‘have both’.

I had randomly stumbled across this idea on an American blog ages ago and clipped it to an Evernote folder. I love Evernote. It’s like the organised version of my tendencies toward large piles of paper and lists and forgetting about stuff and my entire life is plotted out in there.

So when an old friend emailed to say he would be in London this week and would love to pop round for a long catch up and some home baking and I needed some inspiration, I just put the word ‘cookies’ into Evernote and this was the first hit in how my mind stores things.

It may sound odd, but really it’s just a novel way of reworking the good old salt and sweet combo and achieving my ambition to potato-ize every dish in the world. I do like lofty aspirations in my home baking, but I like deliciousness more. Would they manage that?

Spoiler alert: they are basically butter, sugar and crisps combined. They take deliciousness into a whole new sphere. These are so good I even stopped cursing the original recipe for using a cup and two thirds of flour. I want to be eating them right now, not using my hands to type this blogpost…

Potato Crisp Cookies:  makes about 20 (adapted from here)

  • 220g room temperature butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g plain or ready salted crisps, crushed up

Preheat your oven to 160℃ and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. You can cut out the whole tiresome weighing cups adaptation of the recipe because I’ve done it for you.

I mistook the 1/3 cup measure I have and the 1/2 cup one and for the first ever my life added more sugar to an American recipe than it stated, but skipped the whole adding icing sugar step at the end so it worked out fine.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until light, fluffy and pale and then add the vanilla extract. Add in the flour and when it is about two thirds combined, mix in the crushed crisps too.

It will all come together into a soft pliable cookie dough that comes away from the bowl cleanly. I pinched a sort of walnut sized ball of dough off it and rolled and placed on the trays without flattening. The original recipe shows thin flat delicate cookies. I preferred some heft myself.

Bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes until just colouring round the edges. They didn’t flatten much upon cooking so I could have put them closer together and done them all once. You live and learn.

Cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then transfer to a wire rack. They are light and buttery like shortbread but with the salty crunch of crisps and my friend and I inhaled several in close succession. I put some in a tin overnight and they softened slightly to be chewy and buttery with the salty crunch of crisps. This is a biscuit that likes to keep on giving frankly.

Make them. That’s an order. Celebrate butter. Celebrate crisps. Make January nicer with both. I might sub some rice flour in next time to give even more shortness, but if you excuse me, I have a biscuit tin to raid instead of chat to you lot…

 

 

 

 

Peanut Speculoos Cookies

peanut cookiesI know it’s a really food blogger thing to say you love speculoos spread, but then again, I am a food blogger, so allow me.

I absolutely love speculoos spread, especially the crunchy version. If you can’t picture what this is, imagine a Lotus biscuit which you can spread on toast. Like as if Nutella was made from caramel, butter and spices. I particularly love it late at night on hot buttered toast, but I’m not above just sticking a spoon into the jar if I’m honest. Read more

Peppermint Patty Oreos

Oreos are the quintessiential American biscuit (or cookie), but since we Brits are fairly new to their ways and loyal to our impressive range of biscuits, we don’t usually get to experience the whole family of Oreo styles here such as Double Stuf or fudge covered without a plane ticket or friends coming over here. So imagine my glee when I discovered a recipe for homeamde Oreos and realised I could fulfil my yen for peppermint Oreos without increasing my carbon footprint or having go through airport security…
Read more

Lebkuchen plate

Lebkuchen

Christmas is one of the times of the year I like best. Mainly because it gives me the chance to buy presents for other people, drink alcohol in the middle of the day everyday and go to parties on a fairly regular basis. However one requires fortification for all these activities along with something to bring to all those parties, so to prevent you having to worry a minute longer about how to keep your energy up and impress the neighbours, I bring you a recipe for the easiest Christmas cookie around, German spiced lebkuchen

I adore these soft spiced biscuits so much that I normally raid Lidl this time and year and buy about eight boxes, eating them up until Easter when I get sidetracked again by hot cross buns. So imagine my glee when I discovered a recipe for them that is so easy, so quick and so simple, I could knock up a batch in the time it took for the yeast to get ready for my doughnuts

Oven on, I melted the butter and the remains of a bottle of honey on the stove, topping it up to the right amount with the syrup I bought for the pumpkin pie. I measured out my ingredients, delighted that I finally had a reason to use the random bag of groung almonds I’ve had knocking around in the cupboard for about a year, and added the spices, popping a pinch of mace in for good luck too. A quick stir with the spatula to combine the wet and dry and ingredients and I had a lovely soft cookie dough in under 5 minutes.

I plucked pieces off and squashed the balls of dough to make disc shapes on a greased and paper tray and baked about half the cookies in a batch since I didn’t have enough trays for all them at once. I noticed the dough dried out a bit in between, so I’d recommend wrapping it in a bit of clingfilm between batches. You can also form the discs, put paper between them and freeze them so you always can always offer fresh cookies even if people call unexpectedly. I got about 30 cookies from this recipe.

The cookies took about 12 minutes to cook and colour and I don’t find my oven runs hot, so check after 10 minutes to make sure these don’t burn. Add a moment or two more if you’re baking them from frozen. Transfer them to a wire rack and cool them for about 15 minutes if you are icing them. I tried one (just for research purposes you understand!) without the the icing and they were lovely as they were, but look a little bit insipid when left plain.

I mixed up the icing as instructed, using only one tablespoon of water and if I’m honest, I think it was a bit runny and probably didn’t really need the water at all. I iced them using a small spatula and they dripped a fair bit as the icing set, so when I do these again, I’ll skip the water and just use egg white and icing sugar.

The icing set quickly, making this a fairly simple step as you just don’t want to complicate such a simple recipe. I sneaked another one once they had set and was very pleased with how they turned out. Soft and melting (despite the lack of fat) they were warm with ginger and left a tingle thanks to the black pepper and mace that isn’t too savoury or grown up with the hint of sweetness of the icing. I imagine these being just as popular with the kids as with the adults.

These are a fantastic biscuit. Quick and easy to make, great fun to do with the kids, keep well and are much more nuanced with festive spice than shopbought versions. I didn’t expect to be considering another contender for biscuit of the year so soon after the graham crackers, but these are definitely in the running! Maybe I’ll have a seasonal category just for these?

Rosemary Cookies

To reward you all for being such lovely loyal readers I have decided to share my favourite recipe for homemade biscuits. Rich with butter, but as light and crumbly as air you cannot say no to a second (or a third) of these stunning cookies. They impress everyone who tries them, but are so incredibly easy to make that you’ll never use another biscuit recipe again!

I would love to take credit for this recipe, but I can’t. It comes froms the rather underrated Bake by Rachel Allen. I was given this lovely cookbook a few years ago for Christmas and it has become a real go-to for me when I consider turning the oven on for anything. The recipes are easy to follow, rarely require unusual or hard to obtain ingredients and have so far all worked perfectly for me, none more so than the Basic Cookie Recipe on Page 14.

This simple straightfoward recipe contains just 3 main ingredients in the shape of butter, flour and sugar, but can be customised a million ways to suit your tastes so you never tire of it. In fact, it has become such a staple for me I haven’t managed to try any other cookie or biscuit recipes from this book yet!

For this month’s Invisible Food Walk buffet I had intended to make Nigel Slater’s Iced Marmalade Cake to use up a spare jar of Paddington’s favourite, but at the last minute I realised I didn’t have enough self-raising flour left, so with very little time to spare, I decided to whip up some cookies. To make them more foraging appropriate, I decided to steal an idea from a recent tea party and flavour them with rosemary.

I have never used rosemary in baking before, but having made the lemon and ginger versions of these cookies many a time, I have learned that about a tablespoon of flavouring or spice gives the best results rather than the slightly timid suggestion of 1 teaspoon in the original recipe. I picked a nice big sprig of rosemary from the garden and chopped it as finely as I could be bothered at 8.30 in the morning…

I then followed the recipe as usual, creaming the butter and sugar together and then adding the flour and rosemary. I have made these cookies by hand and as long as your butter is nice and soft, it takes very little time, but a bit of elbow grease for this stage. I have recently invested in Sainsbury’s Basic Hand Mixer and this little miracle takes the effort out of baking for a mere £4.99. All in all with the mixer, I had a lovely buttery dough flecked with pungent oily green rosemary in less than 5 minutes. If you are making these by hand, it’s a great recipe to do with the kids.

The cookie dough is easier to handle if you pop it in the fridge for half an hour, but if you are desperate for biscuits as soon as possible, you can skip this. Roll small balls of the dough and flatten them out slightly, but don’t put them too close together on the baking tray as they do spread out a fair bit when cooking. Then pop them in the oven for around 15 minutes until they look slightly golden round the edges. Leave them on the tray for a minute or two to firm up when you take them out, put the kettle on and voila, you have homemade biscuits in around 30 minutes from start to finish.

If you happen to have dough leftover (not as unlikely as it seems! I often make two batches at once) it will keep, well wrapped, in the fridge for about a week or it can be frozen too. If you roll it into a log shape before chilling or freezing, you can simply cut discs of dough and cook them straight from the freezer to make home baking even easier. Considering it would take me 15 minutes to go out and buy a packet of (vastly inferior) biscuits, I usually keep some of this super easy to make dough in the fridge or freezer if I’m expecting visitors…and since I started offering warm freshly baked cookies as routine, I have a lot more visitors!

By the way, I am going on anecdotal evidence that the rosemary worked well. I went to try one at the Invisible Food Walk and they’d all gone, so I’m guessing it works well! I think I might have to try lavender next…