Category Archives: Cookies

And the winner is…

I’ve been lucky. I’ll be lucky again.
~ Bette Davis

First up, before I announce the winner of my recent giveaway, it was so much fun holding it. I’m not usually someone to gush over gifts, though I do appreciate them when they are thoughtful/significant – but oh, when it comes to GIVING presents… I always love it!

I really enjoyed reading the comments you left on my giveaway post – thank you everyone for entering! I hope to hold something similar again soon, and please do enter again next time.

Tonight, I wrote all your names on little slips, and got my flatmate Matt to pick my lucky winner… drumrollBeens! Congratulations!

Beens has just started her blog recently, and it seems so fitting to me now that she should have won the book so she can have a Kiwi-compiled cookbook on her bookshelf for her upcoming move to New Zealand ;-)

Also made some cookies (with Matt’s help in banging the almonds and chocolate into little pieces)… here is the recipe!

    Ingredients:
    115g butter, at room temperature (or microwaved in 3 bursts of 5 seconds, then chopped into small cubes)
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground clove
    1 cup quick-cooking oats
    2 cups chopped almonds
    1/2 cup cranberries (approximately – use your eyes to gauge quantity)
    200g dark chocolate, chopped
    Method:
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with foil and lightly grease it.
    Beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time.
    Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter, mixing on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half.
    Stir in the oats, almonds, cranberries and chocolate chips. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the foil-lined tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. I used the same piece of foil to bake all my batches.
    Yields plenty of cookies (more than 35… somewhere along the way, I lost count). Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.
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Sunday mornings are for florentines

Beauty is a form of genius – is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.
~ Oscar Wilde

Listening to an old Cirque du Soleil soundtrack now – and rapidly falling into a sort of brilliant milky way, if such a thing is possible to evoke from music – if I close my eyes, I can glimpse a million glittering stars in a pool of black silk, shoes sweeping across a polished floor, monkeys on a trapeze, costumes, music, masks, expressions, wide eyes, red lips, movement… I can smell smoke, I can visualise a troupe of dancers gliding gracefully across a carpet of confetti, I can taste a meringue, a cherry pie, a rich hot chocolate, I can see the torching of a crème brûlée… oh, at times like this, I love yielding to the invisible powers of music.

Anyway, I must just write quickly about these florentines and try to get some sleep before Monday morning rolls around once again, I want to be fully awake at work!

I’ve been quite inspired the last few days to bake for a few get-togethers/events – banana cake and brownies have been duly delivered, and what remains is something for French class tomorrow. I was very happy to chance upon David Lebovitz’s recipe for chocolate-dipped florentines the other day… it looked and sounded beautiful! I bought the necessary ingredients to make a double batch of it.

Orange zest, egg whites, sliced almonds, icing sugar, chocolate – oh what a combination of ingredients to put together! Mmmmm! Making the florentines was a breeze, the hardest bit being to efficiently lay spoonfuls of the mixture out in flat circles on the baking tray, and to watch them carefully at the 15 minute mark (they do go from being pale yellow to golden brown so quickly at that stage!).

I was glad for the cold wintry air flowing through the open window today, as it helped the cookies to cool quickly from the oven, and also to set the melted chocolate once I had coated the cooled florentines with it.

These are magic (thank you David Lebovitz!) The best way I can describe the process of making this: it’s like waving a wand and saying Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo, and watching the pumpkin swiftly become a coach. The florentines are, of course, your golden, sweet-soled dancing shoes. You’re off to the ball, my dear!

PS. Hamish has been visiting this weekend, yay – and we have all been eating sooooo much. Of note, we had a late brunch this rainy Sunday at Duke Carvell’s today before going CD shopping/meeting up with the others. For him: seared chicken livers with roasted beetroot and hazelnut; for me: picorino potato cake with poached eggs, chorizo, tomatoes. I really like their menu – it’s pretty evident that whoever wrote it has very good taste!

PPS. Also of note: hot chocolate with soy milk at Midnight Espresso tonight came flavoured with cinnamon and a coffee bean – dreamful.

PPPS. Promise this is the last one. Don’t miss Trade Aid’s jewellery sale… creative pieces for an excellent cause!

Duke Carvell’s – No. 6 Swan Lane, Wellington – Phone: 04 385 2240

Midnight Espresso – 178 Cuba Street, Wellington – Phone: 04 384 7014

Today’s meatballs and yesterday’s cookies

It rolled off the table
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball
Rolled out of the door.
~ Tom Glazer, The Meatball Song

Oh, meatballs. Whenever I see them, especially atop a plate of spaghetti, I think fleetingly of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”. Crazy how videos you watch as a kid stay with you for 17 years (and counting)…

These meatballs from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries” are almost too easy.
#46 Keftedes – Page 156

All you need to do is soak bread in milk, grate an apple, grate an onion, mix it all up with pork mince, eggs, herbs, salt, pepper – and voila! Meatball mix! You roll it into little balls, arrange them nicely on a tray, before frying them in about 1cm of oil (yes, the last step does make me feel less than good, but I won’t be making them often).

They did splatter a little, and I really don’t like cooking with lots of oil, but these are probably close to the best meatballs you can make for yourself at home (they even have healthy apple in them!). There is no good way to take photos of these unfortunately, as you can probably tell in this post! But the end result was mildly sweet, tender meatballs, and I served them with some penne dressed with a garlic, zucchini and tomato sauce.

Modifications: I adjusted the quantities of ingredients to make less meatballs, and used only pork mince (skipped the beef).

Oh and before I sign off. If you are in the mood for some seriously good chocolate chip cookies, don’t miss out on this recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen! I did modify the mix slightly, adding some olive oil and using less chocolate (in a bid to be ever so slightly ‘healthier’), and using more brown sugar because I ran out of white sugar midway, but they still turned out beautifully.

Good thing these were birthday cookies (tip: it’s dangerous sitting next to yummy chocolate chip cookies when you are on your own for more than half an hour).

In search of the perfect cookie

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap (quoting Robert Fulghum in 1987 at Middlebury College).
~ Barbara Jordan, U.S. attorney

Dear Readers
What’s your favourite cookie in the whole wide world?

This can be one you’ve made, been given, nibbled, thrown at someone, dreamed about… etc. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. It can even be a fuzzy blue cookie…

Tell me. And while you are at it, tell me (and other readers, if you choose to leave a comment) about your sweetest cookie memory, your wildest cookie dream, your greatest cookie triumph, your craziest cookie disaster… I’m all ears!

And hey, may milk and cookies float your way today. :-)

Kourapiedes

It took me years to figure out that you don’t fall into a tub of butter, you jump for it.
~ Claudette Colbert

All good things start with butter it seems… so, this evening’s recipe was:

#6 Kourapiedes – Page 135

Butter, sugar, egg, etc… brandy substituted with rum + kahlua… sticky, gooey, sticky.

Browned in the oven, they then played in the icing sugar like frolicking dolphins…

Tessa Kiros said they melt in your mouth… well, she’s right. They do. :-)