Me love Cookies!

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I really do love cookies in all shapes and forms and was recently given a copy of Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe cookery course (where has this book been all my life!) I was keen to try her chocolate chip cookies, described as being the ‘quintessential American cookie’.

Looking in my cupboard I soon realised I didn’t have all the right ingredients but I’ve never let that stop me before, I like a bit of improvisation so what you see below is my version of Darina Allen’s recipe…enjoy!

 

Ingredients

  • 225g slightly salted butterImage
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g dark chocolate buttons (I used Cocoa Loco ones of course)
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts
  • 60g chopped candied orange peel

Preheat oven 180c/350f/gas 4

Beat together the 2 sugars with the butter until pale and fluffy.

Add the beaten egg a little at a time, then the vanilla extract.

Mix in the chocolate, hazelnuts and orange peel.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Divide the mixture into walnut sized pieces and place on a greased baking sheet, making sure you leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread while baking.

Bake for about 9 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes then move carefully across to cooling rack.

This will make about 30 cookies, try not to eat them all at once!

Variations: I fancy trying these next with white chocolate and almonds and a pinch of cardamom.

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My first blog… I scream for ice cream

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Very excited (and nervous) to be publishing my very first of hopefully many blogs, I’m looking forward to sharing with you my favourite chocolate recipes. My chosen testers for today’s blog are my 2 children Lauren and Oscar.

I’ve rekindled my love affair with ice cream following a girly weekend in Milan where I devoured obscene quantities and have dusted off the ice cream maker lurking in the back of my cupboard.

A few years ago I made a delicious ice cream made from the intriguing combination of basil and lemon, from the Crazy water pickled lemons book by Diana Henry and was keen to try this again with a few tweaks.

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I have to confess to being essentially a very lazy cook, you’ll never find me skinning a pepper or deseeding tomatoes, I think life’s just too short for all that faffing. For this reason I love the ice cream base recipe from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, not only do I not need to make a custard, but I don’t even need to separate my eggs…bingo!

The following  is an amalgamation of Ben and Jerry’s and Diana Henry’s recipe (sorry Diana I picked up thai basil in the shop by mistake, I think it adds a lovely twist, I hope you approve).

Ingredients

  • 300 ml full fat milk
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 30 thai basil leaves
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g sugar
  • 227 ml double cream
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g white chocolate buttons – melted

Heat the milk til it’s just about to boil and add the lemon rind and basil leaves. Leave to infuse for about an hour.

Strain the milk using a sieve and give the basil and lemon rind a good squeeze to extract all the flavour, then leave to cool.

Beat the eggs until they are pale and foamy, then gradually add the sugar, continue beating for a couple of extra minutes, beat in the cream, the milk, the melted chocolate and finally the lemon juice.

Pour into ice cream maker to churn (if you don’t have one don’t worry, you can freeze the ice cream mixture, to make sure it’s smooth and creamy you’ll need to pull it out of the freezer every couple of hours and give it a good beating with an electric beater until it’s frozen).

Enjoy!

Variations : If you omit the thai basil and use 100g rose geranium chocolate, it makes a quite different but equally lovely ice cream!

And my testers?…they were both impressed.

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