Tag Archives: cookies

Mince pie-cookies?

Christmakkah is in full swing!  No work for a whole 3 weeks!!!! (So excited!), mother-in-law is making Christmas dinner (at her house – score for our side – no cooking or cleaning for me 🙂 And grandparents to look after child).  Holiday in America is just around the corner (and it’s really warm in Florida right now – didn’t have summer over here, so we get it for two weeks over there – score again!).

We had the annual nativity play at the nursery.  That’s my little snowflake in the front (so proud -even if she did cry a bit, and insist that I sit on the stage with her… again).  I’m not sure why a nursery feels it’s a good idea to put a bunch of three and four year-olds on a stage in front of all the parents – so many crying children – not great fun.  But the little ones were snowmen this year – SO CUTE.  They were Christmas puddings last year (do you know how hard it was to find a Christmas pudding costume?  Thank you Sainsbury’s – my Christmas pudding last year had wings and a wand – perfect – but didn’t stop the crying…).  This year, my little one graduated to snowflake.  And she was an awesome spinning snowflake.

Anywho, I’m the Jewish half of the Christmakah celebrations over here – husband is the gentile.  So I didn’t really grow up with mince pies.  Actually, I’d never had one until I moved to the UK.  And to be brutally honest, I don’t much care for them.  Husband and daughter, on the other hand, can get through 6 dozen a day, if given the chance (I think they’re both growing – just in different directions)…

I made mince pies once for husband (before child).  They weren’t his mother’s, so he didn’t eat them.  I decided not to try again.

This year, we tried something different – since Monkey wanted to do some weekend morning baking, and we were short on ingredients, but had some basics to use, and a jar of mincemeat malingering about in the cupboard.  So we turned them into biscuits / cookies (I prefer cookies… obviously).  And the went down really well.  Husband, child, and co-workers have all been fed on them.  Superb.

Mince pie cookies (based on the Borden Nonsuch recipe)

  • 3.25 c flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sodium bicarb (baking soda)
  • 250 g butter (about 1 cup)
  • 1.5 c demerara sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 411 g jar mince
  1. Mix flour, salt and bicarb in very large mixing bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and mix well
  3. Add wet bowl to dry bowl and mix well
  4. Add mincemeat and continue to mix until well incorporated
  5. Drop onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper / greaseproof paper and bake at 350 F / 180 C for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Transfer to wire rack to cool before eating / storing.
  7. This makes about 50 cookies –  enough to fill two tins, so be prepared for gifting!

What I would do differently next time

I might consider halving the recipe, but otherwise, these were really nice – everyone’s eaten them, and to me, that’s what makes a great cookie 🙂

Happy holidays!

Advertisements

Petrol station oatmeal cookies

When I was a little girl, one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday morning was to go to the CVS with my dad to pick up the paper.  Not to enjoy the journey or anything, but because he always bought me candy when we got to the drug store (my particular favourite was, and still is, Toffifee, but I would swing with whatever floated my boat at the time…).

I kind of have a similar tradition with my little girl.

Because I work about 50 miles from home, and drive a car powered on petrol rather than diesel (purchased well before I had a 100 mile a day commute), and because one of my big driving fears is running out of fuel, I tend to fill up my car about twice a week.  You won’t be surprised to know that food, fuel and childcare costs use 66% of my take home pay, with the balance going to my wonderful student loan for the three University degrees I’m not using because I couldn’t afford to… (Not bitter, really…).

So on Saturday morning, Monks and I head out to the petrol station well before Daddy wakes up.  I get a tank full of gas, and she gets a treat for breakfast.  If I’m feeling a bit flush, I might even swing for a coffee for myself (Monks doesn’t like coffee – before you call Family Services, she’s only tried decaf – she no longer asks to try my coffee in the morning).

This Saturday, when we got inside the petrol station, Monks had a good rummage around – there wasn’t much to choose from as they hadn’t stocked up on the day’s pastries yet (not sure why they don’t do this before they open… but that’s okay – we’ll moan about that another time).  She eventually settled on some pan au chocolats and then found these:

I know I can whip up some cookies in no time at home, but she seemed so eager, and it’s just been one of those weeks (Monday began with a flat tire, broken front axle of the car, migraine headache, 3 hours sleep, etc. – the week finished better than it began, but really, it wasn’t a very big ask…)

She usually has a bit of a bite to each in the car on the way home – yes, I let my kid have cookies for breakfast.  I often had cake for breakfast on the weekends growing up.  I still got in to Oxford.  So I’m going with it.

When I got her in the car, I asked her if she wanted a cookie or a chocolate croissant (because her French lessons provided by the insanely expensive nursery apparently don’t extend beyond Frere Jacques), and she said she wanted the raisin cookie.  Bless.  She thought the chocolate chips were raisins.  She was devastated to hear they were not raisins, but chunks of chocolate (we’re still working on her with the whole chocolate thing – she clearly takes after her dad), so agreed to the croissant.  The only way to return a smile to her face was to promise her that we would make some raisin cookies when we got home.  So that’s just what we did.

Not- petrol station Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1c sugar (I used demerara)
  • 0.5 c butter, softened
  • 0.33 c golden syrup or honey
  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 2 c rolled oats (mine had added wheat bran – go fibre!)
  • 1.125 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c raisins
  • 0.5 – 0.75 c chocolate chunks (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C, and line cookie sheets with greaseproof paper
  2. Mix sugar, butter, golden syrup or honey and eggs (ideal if you have a helper)
  3. In separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda and salt, then add raisins and chocolate if using (if you have a family member who recently left you with a 4 pound bag of assorted hershey’s chocolates – definitely use chocolates – particularly if you have gotten through the majority of the bag alone over a 2.5 week period)
  4. Mix wet into dry bowl
  5. Once well combined, either with wet hands or teaspoons (or tablespoons if you want really big cookies) drop blobs of dough onto cookie sheets (these don’t spread hugely, so aim for about 1.5-2″ apart between cookies – I went for 9-12 per baking tray, and only two of my cookies came out holding hands, which is sweet in its own way)
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes
  7. Let cool for a few minutes on baking tray before transferring onto wire rack to coolMy daughter almost shares a particularly vexatious habit with my husband – he doesn’t like to eat home baked goods whilst they are still warm (what planet is he from?!).  As usual, I blame my mother-in-law.

I did manage to convince her to eat one whilst they were warm but not melting chocolatey goodness hot.  She came back for a second one.  Job done.

Things I would do differently, things I learned:

  • The original recipe which I’ve had for about 10 years now (ergo not attributed, as it was scribbled down long ago) has the 1 1/8 of baking soda in it.  This seems really wrong, and leads to a very soft, pillowy cookie.  I wonder if this shouldn’t actually be baking powder, so I will try this next time
  • I bet this would rock with dried cranberries and white chocolate – because most things do.
  • You can cut hershey’s miniatures with scissors – no knife required!These are dollar/pound store scissors (three in the pack) and really did the job well, so the next time someone is so generous with the chocolate, I’m going to take the scissors to them earlier.
  • I could have saved GBP1 by not buying chocolate chunk cookies – next time, ask Monkey what kind of cookies she thinks they are before purchasing!
  • When typing out a recipe for oatmeal cookies – make sure you add the oatmeal

This recipe makes enough biscuits to feed a normal family for about a month.  If they stay in the house with me, I expect they’ll be done before Friday.  So they’re going to work on Monday.

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Post – Halloween Madness!

Not the band (although that’s good too).  The week.  The past two really, but this one especially.  Sheer and utter madness…

Aside from husband being snowed in “across the pond,” and the manic weekend with my favourite person in the whole world (Monkey-moo!!!), I just seemed to have run out of time for everything, or just had it go spectacularly pear-shaped.

No planned leftovers this week, managed to cancel my on-line shop and had to go to the grocery store, cat’s been rushed to the vet (it’s only a hairball – phew), little one had her first trick-or-treat (so cute), got in trouble at nursery (no telly time!), developed a strange rash, only two lots of trick-or-treators at the door, and I didn’t manage to post my second Halloween treat, so it’s now a post Halloween post:

They’re supposed to be creepy finger cookies, but they didn’t quite come out like I wanted – so instead of a failed recipe, I just called them

Smashed ogre-finger biscuits (based on Martha Stewart’s version)

  • 1.25 c sugar
  • 1c butter
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond flavour
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 170C/350F
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (I don’t think this is the same as wax paper…)
  3. In largish bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt
  4. In smaller bowl, melt butter in microwave, then add sugar, eggs and vanilla
  5. Mix wet bowl into dry bowl to form a fairly stiff dough, then let it rest for about 20 minutes to firm up a bit more – keep it covered!
  6. Using your own finger as a guide, break off bits of the dough and mould into a finger shape.  Place on a lined baking tray
  7. Using the back of end of a teaspoon, press into the finger tip to create a nail bed
  8. Using a sharp knife, make slashes along the dough to create knuckle lines
  9. Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fingers
  10. Let cool on a wire rack
  11. decorate – I use sliced almonds for the nails, secured on with a bit of red writing icing

Things I’d do differently next time:

– the last time I did these, they came out a bit too finger like, and freaked some people out a bit – I used icing/ powdered sugar instead of regular sugar – I think this helped it hold its shape whilst cooking – so go this way for a more realistic biscuit

– if I’m going to go for splodge again, I think I should definitely add a bit of cocoa powder – then I’ll have chocolate almond flavoured poo (and for me, that is just about perfect Halloween eating)

I wish I could say it was time to turn my attention to Thanksgiving now, but alas, for some strange reason, that’s just not a big thing over in the UK.  Funny that.