Raisin and Oat Cookies

This is a classic American recipe. I was taking advice from my daughters about what sort of biscuits to bake for some visitors, and I was asked to make something like flapjack, but softer. This fitted the bill. It is an easy and delicious recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or allspice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 115g butter
  • 100g muscovado sugar (or other soft brown sugar)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g rolled porridge oats
  • 150g raisins or sultanas

METHOD:

  • Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  • Cream the butter and both types of sugar together, until well combined and soft. 
  • Beat in the vanilla extract, and then slowly beat in the egg. 
  • Add the flour mixture and then add the oats and raisins, and mix until the cookie dough is even and all the ingredients well dispersed. 
  • Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two baking trays with grease-proof paper. 
  • Once the dough is chilled, take a teaspoon and scoop out lumps of cookie dough. Each lump should be rolled into a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. Put each ball on the prepared baking trays and gently squish a little to make the ball a little flat. The cookies should be well-spaced to make sure they don’t coalesce whilst baking. You should be able to get 11 to 12 cookies on each tray. 
  • Bake in separate batches for 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to go golden brown, and the top is set. 
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray for around 5 minutes, before transferring them onto a wire rack. 

If you skip the bit about chilling them for 30 minutes, the biscuits will end up flatter; a personal choice. They are nice slightly thicker because they are soft in the middle. 

Chocolate brownies

This recipe uses up the egg-whites left over from making hollandaise sauce. It is really chocolatey. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 170g butter
  • 170g 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 30ml cold coffee
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 125g plain flour

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C. Prepare a 20cm square cake tin – grease with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  • Put a bowl over a pan of boiling water, and put in the chocolate and butter. Heat until all the butter and chocolate have melted together. 
  • Add the vanilla, coffee and salt, stir and set aside for 15 minutes to cool. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the caster sugar, soft brown sugar and cocoa powder. Add the egg whites, and use a beater to whisk the mixture together. The volume should increase by more than double and the mixture should go pale. 
  • Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put it in the oven. Turn the heat down to 175C and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Set the cooked brownies to cool in their tin. Once the are cold, lift them out and cut into squares. 

 

Teacakes

These large teacakes make several portions each. To serve, I split them across, and then cut each half in half. They can also be started in the bread-maker; instructions below.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 300ml warmed milk
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g lard
  • 50g currants
  • 50g mixed peel (optional)
  • Milk for glazing

METHOD:

  • Grease a couple of baking sheets, and warm the oven to 220C
  • Stir the yeast into the warm milk with the sugar, and leave in a warm place until starting to ferment and frothing.
  • Mix the sugar, flour and salt, and rub in the lard.
  • Add the currents, peel and the yeast/milk mixture, and kneed on a floured surface to make a soft dough.
  • Set aside to rise for around 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Divide the dough into six equal pieces, and roll to around 15 cm across, 1 cm thick. Put these onto the baking sheets, and cover while they prove. This will take around 40 minutes.
  • Brush the tops with milk and bake for around 20 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

If you are going to make the dough in a breadmaker, follow the method below:

Put the ingredients into the breadmaker in the order below:

Yeast, flour, sugar, salt, lard, milk (or water and milk powder). Set the bread machine to ‘basic dough’. Once the dough is ready, kneed in the dried fruit before dividing into buns and leaving to prove.

Honey digestives

These are fantastic with goat’s cheese and a little sliver of dried fig.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

METHOD:

  • Mix the flour and salt, and rub in the butter – fine breadcrumb texture
  • Mix in the honey to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll out thinly on a floured board, and cut into rounds with a 5cm cutter.
  • Bake at 150C for 20 minutes.

Cheese Straws

A big hit at the recent coffee morning. I think the helpers had quite a few.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 75g butter
  • 75g grated cheese, mixture of cheddar and parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp milk

METHOD:

  • Sieve the flour, cayenne pepper and salt into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter, then stir in the grated cheese.
  • Mix the mustard, egg yolk and water together.
  • Make a stiff dough by adding the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Roll out to about 1cm thick, and then cut into fingers, about 1cm by 5cm.
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray, and bake at 220C for 12 minutes.
  • Lift onto a wire rack to cool.

Grantham Ginger Biscuits

I was baking for a coffee morning for the Uist Coastal Rowing Club. We are raising funds to build a new skiff, and we raised over £700, which is amazing. I made quite a lot of biscuits as they are easy to serve.

INGREDIENTS;

  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 125g self-raising flour

METHOD:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together
  • Add the ginger and flour and work into a stiff dough.
  • Divide into 24 small balls, and space out onto ungreased baking trays.
  • Bake at 130C for 45 minutes
  • Lift onto a wire cooling rack when they are done.

Moppen – Dutch butter and almond biscuits

These biscuits are very easy to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour, sifted
  • flaked almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten

METHOD:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  • Work in the flour to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls, around 16 altogether
  • Place the balls of mixture on a greased baking sheet, at least 5cm apart. Flatten the balls slightly
  • In the centre of each biscuit, put a couple of flaked almonds, and brush each biscuit with beaten egg.
  • Bake at 190C for 10 minutes.
  • Once out of the oven, lift the biscuits off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Chilli Cookies

These are spicy and delicious. My children like to make them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g muscovado sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 tsp mild fresh red chilli, or chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 75g dark chocolate, cut into small chips

METHOD:

  • Stir the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, chilli and sugar.
  • Rub in the butter to achieve a fine breadcrumb texture.
  • Add the syrup and mix into a dough. Squeeze the mixture into a dough.
  • Kneed in the chocolate chops
  • Divide into 12 balls, and space evenly onto a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 180C for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • When they are out of the oven, lift them off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack as soon as possible.

Banana Loaf

Banana loaf
The classic banana loaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g butter or margarine
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or more)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • granulated sugar for the glaze

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin
  • Sift the dry ingredients together
  • Rub the butter into the flour until it is the size of breadcrumbs
  • Add the sugar and any spices such as ground cinnamon, or allspice, and any dried fruit.
  • In another bowl mix the milk and lemon juice
  • In a third bowl, mash the banana and add lemon rind
  • In a fourth bowl, beat the eggs.
  • Add the milk and lemon juice to the mashed banana and mix well.
  • Add the eggs to the mashed banana mixture and mix well.
  • Add the mashed banana mixture to the dry ingredients, and combine well – do this step fairly quickly, and turn the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Time is of the essence once the wet and dry ingredients are combined.
  • Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar and into the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

We had some ground hazelnuts, so we tried this recipe. It was delicious, and it would have been even better if I had a cake platter. It also keeps well, and can be frozen. If you don’t have ground hazelnuts, you can start with whole nuts. The recipe is from ‘Chocolate’ by Patricia Lousada.

INGREDIENTS (CAKE)

  • 90g Hazelnuts, toasted and rubbed to remove skins, or 90g ground hazelnuts
  • 140g fair trade caster sugar
  • 90g fair trade continental plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 90g fair trade dark cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 180g organic salted butter, chopped
  • 4 free range organic eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30 organic plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INGREDIENTS (GLAZE)

  • 90g fairtrade continental style dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 90g plain cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 125g salted butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

METHOD:

  • Prepare a 23cm springform tin: grease the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • Heat the oven to 190C
  • Grind the hazelnuts with 2 tbsp of the sugar.
  • In a double pan, melt the two chocolates with the butter
  • Whisk the egg yolks with 90g of the sugar until pale, thick and creamy
  • When the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, mix it with the egg yolks and sugar
  • Mix the flour and salt with the hazelnuts, and fold that into the chocolate mixture as well
  • Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until ’soft peak’ and then add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites carefully into the chocolate mixture, and scrape into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 35 minutes; the centre will still be moist, and the torte should not have risen much, if at all.
  • Cool the torte in the tin on a wire rack. Quick note: at this point, you could cool the torte, turn it out of the tin and then freeze it for up to two months.
  • When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Melt the two chocolates with the butter and golden syrup in a double pan.
  • Spread about a quarter of the glaze over the cake, and then chill: this stops annoying crumbs getting into the surface of the glaze later on.
  • When the first bit is set, rewarm the glaze a little, and pour over the cake. This is best done on a wire rack over a large plate.
  • If you are feeling really creative, melt 1 oz white chocolate and 1 oz milk chocolate separately, and pipe designs into the setting glaze. Circular stripes feathered with a skewer are suggested in the book.

We served this with pouring cream.