Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you hadn’t already noticed I have a huge sweet tooth and is there a better way to spend an evening than sinking into the sofa for The Great British Bake Off semi finals this evening than in front of the fire with a big plate of gorg homemade cookies.

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These are a firm family fave and taste beaut cooled slightly straight from the oven when they’re all soft, warm and fudgy still.

They’re super simple to make and you could do it all in one big bowl so less washing up is always a winner. This recipe makes roughly 12 cookies. If you’re an ultra organised person this the type of thing you could make and then roll into a sausage shape and freeze and cut off a slice when you fancy a cookie (like you’d only have one???) Or even just have as cookie dough.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 125g softened butter.
  • 100g soft light brown sugar.
  • 125g golden caster sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 225g plain flour.
  • 200g chocolate chips/chunks/ a bar cut into shards.

HOW TO:

First off preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray.

Cream together the butter and the sugars until fully combined. I’ve used a combination of light brown sugar and golden caster sugar to give it that slightly darker colour and also to make the texture a bit gooey and fudgier.

To that add in the beaten egg and the vanilla.

Sift in the plain flour and then add in the chocolate chips. I actually used a dark chocolate because that is my favourite. Plus I really like the combo of the sweet cookie and the bitter dark chocolate. If dark chocolate isn’t your fav, once you’ve got the basic cookie recipe down you can swap things around to please yourself, like white chocolate and a cranberry, milk chocolate and fudge pieces, a swirl of nutella and some chopped hazelnuts, or one of my faves, a piece of dairy milk caramel shoved in the centre so when you bite into it you’ve got that delicious gooey middle. YUM.

Using a tablespoon I scooped up some of the dough and then using my hands, rolled it into a ball shape pressing it down on the top slightly as I did so.

Putting it in the oven to bake for about 8-9 minutes so they are still warm and soft in the middle. Leave to bake and set up in the oven a few minutes longer if you want a crispier bake and it’s golden around the edges.

I swear the time waiting for them to cool are almost as long as treadmill minutes??? I sprinkled them with some sea salt and served. Nigella who?!

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What’s your cookie of choice?

MUCH LOVE. x

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Homemade Cornbread.

So as I mentioned in my post yesterday as seen here I made and ate cornbread for the first time and it was actually really good. I’ve often seen people on American films and sitcoms eat this with their meals and have always been a bit curious as to what it actually is and what it tastes like too. To be honest if you were like me and hadn’t tried it before it’s like a dense cake is the best way to describe it I reckon. Eating this made me live out my dream of being a old woman from one of the southern states of America, I pictured myself sitting on a rocking chair on a porch in Alabama, spitting into a bucket and stroking one of my many wild pet cats. We’ve all got dreams right?!

Anyway aside from that mad tangeant, I would really recommend giving this a go. It’s a bit different and something I, and none of my family members had really tried before, it’s also a really conversation starter if you serve this up over the dinner table with a big feast of tex mex food.

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As you can see from the above image, which looks like its a screengrab from a crap documentary series filmed off of a potato, it’s a proper dense little side dish. It looks like a cake, smells like cake but has that faint polenta/sweetcorn aroma to it and went really with the savoury chilli flavours.

If I’ve managed to sell this recipe to you and you fancy giving it a go yourself, it’s so easy to do. You literally just mix wet ingredients into the dry ones. Pop it in a lined tray and bang it in the oven. DONE.

To make this you will need:

  • 125g plain flour.
  • 125g cornmeal or polenta.
  • 140g caster sugar.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 3tsp baking powder.
  • 1 large egg.
  • 235ml of milk.
  • 80ml vegetable oil.

HOW TO:

I wish I could ramble on in this gap for ages how technical I found this but I’m not the greatest cook in the world and I found it so easy there’s literally 0 room to go wrong.

I measured out all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mixed them all together until they were nicely combined.

Adding in a pinch of salt and the egg, I mixed until it formed a paste like consistency.

In a jug, I measured out the milk and the oil adding that to the dry ingredients until it came together like a smooth cake batter.

I popped it in the oven (which was set and preheating obvs at 200 degrees C) It took about 25 minutes to fully cook through and I left it to cool before serving.

I did see online that some people eat theirs hot or with honey or topped with butter but we had ours plain. Similarly you could add in some cheese, chives, spices like paprika or even some small bacon bits to give it a bit more punch and flavour.

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Once again, I am not impressed with the photo quality of these. I did take them with my phone and usually it works out really well but these look like I took them with a disposable camera on holiday in 1976 or something?! Anyway I was well happy with how these turned out. Considering it was my first attempt and no one was violently ill or thought they tasted gross!? That’s a win in my book!

Also, so sorry these posts are coming out later and later each day, I may have been watching Crime documentaries all evening before I realised I didn’t actually schedule a post for today. One of these days I might be an organised little sausage when it comes to these blogging shenanigans.

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

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Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.

Irish Apple Crumble Cake.

I saw this recipe online a few months ago, from Donal Skehan’s website here,  and it quickly became one of my favourites and one of my family’s too. Even though I live in  Dorset so you may have thought that the famous Dorset Apple cake would have stolen that top spot for me however I enjoy the cake/crumble hybrid that comes with this teatime treat. It has a light, fluffy sponge, delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger topped with a smooth, buttery crumble top adding an extra dimension of texture and flavour.

This bake isn’t really for the fainthearted judging by the amount of butter and sugar you throw (not literally) into the bowl. It won’t be one you can take to a weight watchers bake off to be honest but it’s so deliciously decadent that it won’t even matter. I based my recipe off of Donal’s, he’s one of my favourite chefs with his fun approach to cooking and baking. I have added a bit of a twist to this recipe which some Irish folk may think is absolute blasphemy and I’ll be banned from the Emerald Isle for life but i’ve baked this for family and friends and it went down a treat.

For this bake you will need:

  • 110g butter, I used unsalted.
  • 150g soft brown sugar or demerara sugar whatever is easier or what you’ve got in your cupboards.
  • 2 eggs
  • 210g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp nutmeg.
  • 300g peeled, cored and sliced cooking apple is Donal’s recommendation but I tend to use 2 or 3 small eating apples.

For the crumble top you will need:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g cold, diced butter.

 

HOW TO:

So first off I would recommend preheating your oven to 180 degrees and lining a cake tin. Then you can peel and dice your apple. Depending on how apple-y you like your bake you could add more or less. We like ours quite fruity so add a good amount. To keep them from browning I put them in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice until I add them to the mixture.

Like any other cake, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Add in the eggs with a spoonful of flour with each egg. This helps the mixture from not looking claggy and a bit gross and enables it to mix together more smoothly.

Add in the rest of the flour along with the salt and baking powder too. Once that’s all fully combined I pop in the almond extract and the spices too. I really like these flavours so sometimes adjust the amount I use depending on my personal tastes and whether I want to use some of these Christmassy flavours too. I think the cinnamon is definitely a good addition but things like ginger, nutmeg or even something like allspice or mixed spice are all optional.

Draining the apples from the water completely and patting them dry in a tea towel, stopping any excess water getting the batter wetter than it needs to be, I pop them straight into the batter giving it a quick stir until it’s completely combined.

At this stage you could also add things like a handful of crushed mixed nuts, raisins or other dried fruits like raisins, cranberries or chopped apricots or even jewel the lined cake tin with blackberries or raspberries ready for when you pour the mixture over it.

Once the cake mix is evenly spread into the tin you can sprinkle on top the crumble mix.

To make the crumble mixture all you need to do is rub the sugar, butter and flour to a rough breadcrumb consistency. I like to add some spices to the mix of mine too, giving it that lovely golden sand colour. Similarly if you want an extra crunchy texture, crumble in some crushed up biscuits or shortbread, flaked almonds or even some rolled oats then evenly coat the top of the cake batter.

Cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until you poke a skewer or knife in and it comes out clean. I sometimes find that bit difficult with a recipe with fruit in so sometimes it’s easier to poke a couple holes in just to be on the safe side.

Once cooled it is perfect served with a generous dollop of cream or even have it slightly warmed up too. It is glorious. If I do say so myself.

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Jammie Dodger blondies.

Blondies were a bit of a new phenomenon for me until I made these and introduced my family to them too. Not too dissimilar from the OG chocolate brownie with its fudgy, gooey chocolate centre and flaky, crumbly top. Blondies are are typically flavoured by the dark sugar or the browned butter used to give it that gorgeous golden yellow hue and that deep, rich molasses flavour. If you have a super sweet tooth like me, blondies will be right up your street. I chose to add some Jammie Dodgers, which was one of the best biscuits you could get at a kids party if you ask me! I actually made some in a blog post as seen here.

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This little slice of heaven was really simple to make, looks really impressive and is super delicious too. Plus it goes perfectly with a cup of tea FYI; what’s not to love! I used a recipe I had in a cookbook at home and made a few changes to it to suit what I like aaaand also what I had at home and what I thought sounded nice.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Butter, I used unsalted butter. 
  • 250g sugar
  • 200g White chocolate
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 250 g Plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pack Jammie Dodger biscuits
  • Strawberry jam (optional)

HOW TO:

So I’m not the most organised in the kitchen, but I’m trying to get better, in recipe books or on cookery shows they always tell you to preheat the oven and line the baking tray first so you can get the oven warmed up and ready and will have also saved the faff of lining a tray. So I did (eventually) preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lined a little square baking tin. I wish I could say the actual measurements of the tin for you, but I am not sure. I quite like thicccc little squidges of blondie pieces so I could cut this into smaller chunks rather than larger, thinner pieces.

ANYWAY, I cubed the butter melting it slowly in a pan. If you quite like the taste and flavour of browned butter, leave it to slowly warm over heat until its browned and got that gorg nutty smell. That’ll give your bake a lovely colour and richer, molasses flavour too. Once this was fully melted I mixed the sugar into it.

When it comes to the sugar you use it can change the taste, colour and flavour of the blondie altogether. I used regular white caster sugar but you could use golden caster sugar for a richerr colour and fudgier consistency. Equally if you prefer that molasses, treacly flavour use a darker sugar. Something like demerera or brown sugar would work well too!

Whilst the mixture is still warm, I added half of the white chocolate which I had already cut into smaller pieces, until the whole mixture was completely mixed together and smooth. Leave this to cool for a little bit and then add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Make sure the mixture isn’t too warm still in case the eggs scramble.

Add in the flour and the pinch of salt a small heap at a time. Once combined I used the rest of the white chocolate which I had already cut into small chips and mixed that through. Finaaaaally you can pour your blondie batter into your ready prepared and lined tray.

If you’re a big fan of the jam like my fam you can add in a few spoonfuls of your jam of choice and swirl it through the mixture.

Lastly, place the jammie dodgers on top of the blondie in whatever pattern you choose. You can buy the mini ones if you wanted to throw them more sporadically into the mix. Y’know you do you hun.

Bake in the oven for roughly 30 -35 minutes til they are golden and brown and the top has that crumbly, crackly crust.

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It went down a treat in my house and lasts really well too as long as it’s kept in an airtight container! I’d definitely recommend baking these, next time I won’t bake them for as long as I did as you can see they caught a little bit on the top! The blondie was lovely and fudgy and the Jammie Dodger gives it a fab crunch. It was BANGIN.