The Baker In Me…
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a baking addict and am constantly being mocked by my family and friends for taking pictures of my triumphs pre consumption. It may seem odd to some, I’ve endured a couple of snipes along the lines of, “Why do you think anyone wants to see pictures of your food? Who cares what you’re eating?!” Well…I do. And this is my blog. Which, more than anything else, is a place for me to document things I’ve enjoyed, thought about, or discovered in my life. Occasionally, food is one of those things. I like to cook, I like to eat, I like to feed. At the moment I like to experiment and blog about it. If this is not of interest to you, AVERT YOUR EYES.
For anyone that is interested, and fancies trying out one of my recipes, here have been my star baking moments over the past month…
First up is the IMMENSE carrot cake with orange zest butter icing that I made for one of my besties, Sophie O’Kelly’s birthday. The recipe was to feed 8…I doubled it. The end result could have fed 20. The finish on the cake wasn’t the perfect picture I’d hoped for, partly due to not having time to let the butter icing cool before piping it on, but overall I was happy with it. Got me a new icing bag off ebay especially for the occasion *happy face*. I didn’t actually get to eat that much of it, but the nibble I did have was rather awesome (if I do say so myself). I would post the recipe I was following but halfway through I started free-styling due to being a couple of ingredients short… Either way, the result was a very rich, moist cake which took roughly two hours to bake, and went down very quickly. Result!
My second bascapade (baking escapade) was cookies. I’ve always wanted to be a cookie master but every time I follow a recipe, they never come out the way I want. Too sweet, too crunchy, always too…something. So on Thursday I stumbled upon an experimenting opportunity-as usual there is a story behind it.
I’ve been hitting it hard recently in the form of festivals, carnivals, street parties, and general frolicking around Bristol. Despite vowing I would eventually calm down and return to a regular routine, my body has taken matters into its own hands…and turned on me. For the past week I’ve been led in bed feeling sorry for myself, without the ability to stand, talk, or eat. Despite this, when I got a text off my friend asking if I could cook her dinner I said ‘Yes, of course’, and decided to throw a dinner party. I told everyone to bring a dish to cut down on the effort I’d need to put in…shocker! Nobody did. I ended up whipping up a meal for 6, of which I could stomach none of. I tried, I failed, I went to the kitchen to start making pudding. Post creaming together butter and sugar, supposedly for a cake, I realised I had no eggs so decided to make cookies instead. Normally, you need eggs for cookies because they provide the binding factor which helps them keep their shape, but they’re not essential in terms of taste. As you can see from the first ‘cookie’ picture, the resulting aesthetics weren’t incredibly pleasing but they still tasted pretty darn good.
Anyway, today at my mums I perfected the recipe, so that they were just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the mouth (that shouldn’t sound weird but it does…ah well). I use spelt flour because I’m not a massive wheat fan, but you can use any kind of flour. Bread flour makes the end result a bit more doughy and gives the cracked top on the finished cookie. I normally split the batch before the *star* ingredient stage so I can make lots of different flavours. Out of one base batch I made peanut butter for my dad and raspberry for my mum.
SO- here are the basics for you to use in your own cookie journey…
100g spelt flour
100g bread flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Firstly preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the beaten egg and vanilla essence. Sieve in the flours, add in pinch of bicarb of soda and baking powder. Mix together thoroughly and add your star ingredient (e.g peanut butter, raspberry jam, lemon curd, desiccated coconut etc). Take a heaped teaspoon of mixture and drop onto baking tray, push down slightly with back of spoon (make sure you leave enough space between drops for the mixture to spread) and put in the oven to bake for 15-20 mins. You should be able to tell when they’re done by a crack appearing in the top.
The resulting cookies should be soft in the middle, not too sweet, and brilliantly bite-size so you can keep track of how many you’ve had (although personally I choose to ‘lose count’ after the fourth…).
Happy baking! xxx