Double Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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IMG_20151128_151233[1] 28/11/2015

I felt like making cookies today but wanted something more than a standard chocolate chip mix and pistachios and dark chocolate is what I had in the cupboards. It’s a combination that goes really nicely together. The rich dark chocolate and salty roasted nuts are great together in a buttery, chocolate shortbread round. An impressive, tasty bake with minimal effort required – Result!

Makes 12-15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground pistachios
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup 60% dark chocolate chips
  • Coarsely ground pistachios, for garnish

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Instructions:

  1. In a large food processor, process the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the egg and egg yolk, processing until combined.
  3. Add the flour, pistachios, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and process once more. Scrape the sides of the processor.
  4. Place dough mixture into a medium bowl, and add the chocolate chips. Gently combine until evenly distributed.
  5. With a sufficient piece of parchment paper, wrap the dough into a round log, about 2.5″ in diameter.
  6. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 170C.
  8. Cut the cookie dough off the log in even pieces, about .8″ or so apart, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. They will firm up once taken out of the oven.
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Welsh Rarebit

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IMG_20151118_213733[1] 18/11/2015

There are many variations for this classic dish. Some recipes call for cayenne or paprika, others for ale. This version uses a cheesy bechamel as a base for a beautifully smooth and warming, tangy mustard sauce. A perfect treat for an indulgent brunch.

Ingredients:

  • A knob of butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • Approx 100ml milk
  • 40g Mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 2 slices of your favourite bread
  • 1 clove of garlic

Method:

  1. Make a roux by gently heating the butter in a small milk pan then adding the flour. Stir to combine and cook the flour.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly so lumps don’t form. Add enough milk to make a smooth sauce that is not too runny.
  3. Add the grated cheese and stir in until melted. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spring onions then check for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  4. Toast the bread then cut the clove of garlic in half and rub one half of raw garlic on each slice of toasted bread. Spoon the cheese mix evenly onto each slice of toast then place under a preheated grill until browning and bubbly .

Treacle Slices

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IMG_20151110_153326[1] 10/11/2015

These are actually pretty easy to make, and although they may not be the most fancy to look at, the taste is an absolute TOUR DE FORCE. Try them and see!

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g vegetable shortening (I used Trex)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (reserve the zest of the whole lemon for the topping – and zest it BEFORE you cut it)
  • 2 tbsp iced water

For the topping:

  • 1 x 454g tin golden syrup
  • 25g soft unsalted butter
  • approx 150g fresh breadcrumbs, or around 550ml in a measuring jug
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with foil and grease, or grease a foil tray.
  2. Put the flour, butter and vegetable shortening for the base into a food processor and blitz until you have a ‘crumbly rubble’.
  3. Combine the lemon juice and iced water, and pour down the funnel whilst the processor is running until the mix clumps together making a dough.
    4. Press this out into your tray.
    5. When evenly spread to a satisfactory level, bake this in the oven for 20 minutes.
    6. Meanwhile, melt the golden syrup and the 25g of butter in a saucepan on a low heat. When combined, stir in the breadcrumbs, and then remove from the heat.
  4. Allow to cool a little, and then mix in the lemon zest and egg.
  5. When the pastry base is ready, pour this crumby mixture over it (no need to let the base cool or anything first, just go for it), smooth over, and pop back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

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When it’s ready, the filling should be slightly risen and look dry around the edges, but still a bit squidgy in the middle.

I think this is best served slightly warm so if (and I emphasise ‘if’ there are any left), warm them slightly before eating and serve with ice cream for a proper tasty pud’!

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

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IMG_20151103_114926[1] 03/11/2015

Called outrageous chocolate cookies, these cookies definitely deserve their name for being outrageously attractive. The pictures don’t even do them justice: these cookies look really pretty in real life, like small pieces of cake covered in a very thin layer of chocolate. If you want an easy to make cookie that’s all chocolate and yet looks attractive and tastes like a soft and chewy piece of a very good chocolate cake – try these, I beg you!

Remember, these are supposed to be soft and chewy, with only the top of the cookie that’s crunchy. So to have the success with these cookies, make sure to:

1) Melt the chocolate in step 1 just enough to mix, and when you mix it in and if the batter seems runny due to hot chocolate, allow the batter to cool down for some time to harden up. By allowing the cookie batter sit for a while, the hot melted chocolate will cool down and harden the cookie dough.

2) Beat your eggs and sugar in step 3 really well, until light and fluffy – otherwise the dough will be too thin.

3) Do not over bake the cookie. The cookie should not be dry. It should still be soft and brownie-like after 12-15 minutes of baking.

4) To avoid cookies spreading too thin during baking, make sure to follow all of the steps above, and also use cold baking sheets.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Heat 8oz semisweet chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted. Make sure not to over melt the chocolate, melt it just enough to mix.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed really well, until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate (remember, the melted chocolate should not be too runny). Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips). If your batter is too runny (due to over melting the chocolate in step 1), let the batter stand for some time to get hard.
  4. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray. Drop tablespoons of dough onto cold baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centres, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over bake the cookies, the texture should still be soft, that of a brownie, when you take them out of the oven. If you overcook them, they will be too hard. Do not bake them to a crisp, they are supposed to be soft.
  5. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well for a week in an air-tight container.