Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Adapted from Grand Central Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been wanting to make some oatmeal cookies for a while now; about a month ago I tried my hand at some banana oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and coconut flakes, but they turned out a bit boring to be quite honest; I suspect one of the reasons was that I used instant oats, which resulted in a very ‘meh’ consistency. Well I finally remembered to buy old fashioned oats yesterday, and so today I’m trying these out!

I heard about the recipe on an episode of Spilled Milk (highly recommended, in case you haven’t already heard of it), where Matthew mentioned these chewy, perfect oatmeal cookies. While I guess everyone’s idea of a perfect cookie is a relative concept, I gotta say these are very yummy. They are, in my opinion, the right amount of chewy to crunchy, and very easy to make, always a bonus 🙂 I made them smaller than the original recipe calls for, and also reduced the chocolate content by three quarters – not a huge fan of milk chocolate, nor of ‘too much’ chocolate in cookies (and milk chocolate can get a bit sickly sweet – but this is all a matter of personal preference! 😉 ) – but I still found it to be a more than adequate amount of chocolate 🙂 These taste a bit like the oatmeal cookies you can get in the food section at IKEA, except CHEWY! What’s not to like.

And even though I’m not a huge fan of milk chocolate, it does suit oatmeal cookies. I’m not sure about using dark chocolate in these – although I might have to try it out at some point, just to see.

But meanwhile, for these you will need:

  • 120 g / 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110 g / 1 stick / 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup sugar
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 g / 1 1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 85 g / 3 ounces / about 1/2 cup of milk chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 180˚C / 350˚F.

Cream together the butter and sugars (using an electric beater, if you like, but I just use a wooden spoon). Whisk in the egg and the vanilla.

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Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add this to the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until combined.

Mix the chopped chocolate and oats, then add to the dough and mix until combined.

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Roll into (shelled) walnut-sized balls of dough and distribute on a non-stick baking sheet (or cover a regular baking sheet with baking parchment), about 12 per sheet.

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Bake for 7-8 minutes, turning the baking sheet after 3-4 minutes. When the cookies have spread out and are just beginning to brown at the edges, about 6-7 minutes in, take the baking sheet out and give each cookie a light tap with a wooden spoon; return to the oven for a minute.

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When done, the cookies will be golden around the edges but still look slightly underdone in the middle. Leave to firm up for a minute or so on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Wait about a minute, then eat a big bunch and feel slightly queasy for the rest of the day. Keep the cookies in an airtight tin; keep eating cookies throughout the day to test whether they’re still yummy, maintaining your cookie-nausea until all the cookies have disappeared.

Makes for about 32-33 cookies (after you’ve eaten some of the raw dough).

 

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Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes

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The past week has been wonderfully mild and sunny, but there is also something to be said for gloomy weather. The weather is so grey and rainy today, it’s completely justifying my desire to just stay inside and bake and take naps. I may have been a cat in a previous life. I think I’d make an awesome cat, at least in terms of my love of snuggling up in a blanket and snoozing.

I woke up today craving pancakes. Since I had a dinky old apple that needed to be used, I decided to make these instead of my usual blueberry oatmeal pancakes. And I’m really glad I did, I like these even better!

They’re super quick and easy to make, but do require that you have buttermilk in  the fridge. Since I had a litre that’s about to go off, I decided to spend my Sunday baking all the things I have in my repertoire that require buttermilk (I’m making butter scones later!).

Anywho, here is what you’ll need for 12 pancakes!

Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes
Adapted from this recipe from Orangette.

  • 90 g ~ 1 cup rolled oats/oatmeal (not steel cut!)
  • 240 ml ~ 1 cup buttermilk
  • 30 g ~ 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 55 g ~ 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 apple (I like to use tart apples for baking/cookies, such as Granny Smith, but since the one I had was a milder tasting Gala apple, I added a squeeze of lemon juice)
  • Olive oil, for cooking (or another vegetable oil of your choice)

Mix the oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg and melted butter.

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Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and add this to the wet ingredients.

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Peel, core and chop the apple into fairly small pieces (about blueberry-sized!) – if your apple isn’t tart, and if you, like me, like a bit of tartness to your apples, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the chopped apples. Add to the batter.

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Heat about 1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil) in a large non-stick pan or skillet, on the lowest setting of the biggest burner on your stove/hob. Place four dollops, each about a 1/4 cup, in your pan, and cook (on low heat) for about 3 minutes on each side, to let the apples begin to soften slightly. Place the finished pancakes in a dish (I quickly heat up my dish in the oven so that it keeps the pancakes warm while I make more) and cover in tin foil. Re-oil your pan and repeat.

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Serve with maple syrup or cinnamon sugar 🙂

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White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberries and Sea Salt

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I love chewy cookies. I don’t really get the appeal of a crunchy chocolate chip cookie. On the other hand, I find that store-bought cookies tend to be almost too squidgy; you need a crispy edge to off-set the chewiness.

David Lebovitz’ cookie recipe is the best I’ve ever tried; there’s this tapping technique involved which guarantees a soft and chewy centre, and the addition of flaky sea salt makes for a dangerously moorish cookie that somehow doesn’t overwhelm you with sweetness. I dare you not to get addicted.

I recently tried a cookie with dried cranberries and white chocolate, and decided to try out this variation using David Lebovitz’ recipe as a base. A decision I have not regretted – I liked them so much in fact, that I made them again a few days later. They are a bit dangerous though, I think I actually managed to eat 8 or 9 cookies in one day (I brought them to work, but managed to eat so many sitting at my desk that I didn’t have enough left to share for afternoon coffee, and had to take the remaining few back home to hide my cookie binge). Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You will need:

  • 115 g ~ 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 110 g ~ 1/2 cup + 2 tsp sugar
  • 100 g ~ 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180 g ~ 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4-1 tsp flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
  • 100 g ~ 3 1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 100 g ~ just over 3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Cream the softened butter and the sugar with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Whisk in your egg and vanilla extract.

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Mix together the flour, flaky sea salt and baking soda, then incorporate this into the butter-sugar-and-egg mixture until all the flour has been absorbed.

Add the (quite finely) chopped white chocolate and cranberries.

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Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour, then roll into small-ish walnut-sized balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet (or, if you’re impatient, roll into walnut-sized balls, place on a baking sheet and place said baking sheet in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes while the oven heats up!). Press down a little on each cookie so that they are somewhere between round and flat (but still thick, as the dough will spread as they bake and you don’t want your cookies to turn out too thin).

Bake for 9 minutes at 180°C (350°F) until the edges begin to brown lightly, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking. At the nine minute mark, take your baking sheet out of the oven and gently ‘tap’ each cookie with a wooden spoon to release the air trapped in the cookie, and ensure a dense, chewy cookie texture. Return the cookies to the oven for 1-3 minutes depending on how crunchy/chewy you like your cookies. I like them quite chewy, so I only return them to the oven for a minute or so.

Take the cookies out of the oven (if the cookies have ‘risen’ a bit again, give them another gentle tap on top), and leave on the cookie sheet for about a minute to set up before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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Makes for about 34 cookies

Adapted from David Lebovitz’ recipe for Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

P.s.: Although these keep well for a few days in an airtight container, I prefer to make a few cookies at a time by rolling the dough up into individual cookie sized balls, wrapping each ball in baking parchment, and keeping these in a bag in the freezer (for up to two months, should they last this long). That way you can make a cookie (or eat a bit of frozen cookie dough 😉 ) whenever you feel like it 🙂

 

Mushy Peas

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Adapted from Jamie Oliver

I love mushy peas. Love love love.

Tomorrow I’m making bangers and mash with mushy peas for dinner, and I decided to make the mushy peas ahead of time so that I could have some tonight already!

This recipe is so, so simple, and so, so yummy. It always turns out perfect, no one could mess this up. Plus these take about 15-20 minutes to make, most of which is simply the peas simmering by themselves. This is high a very low maintenance, instant gratification side dish.

You will need:

  • About 500 g / 17-18 ounces frozen peas
  • About 1 tbsp of butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • A small sprig of fresh mint, chopped (if you happen to find yourself without fresh mint, you can absolutely leave it out, it will still taste yummy; but I still recommend using mint, if you have it!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Melt the butter in a sauté pan (a pan with semi high sides). Add the chopped mint and frozen peas to the pan, cover with a lid, and leave to simmer for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the peas are nice and soft, add the lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Take off the heat and whiz up in a food processor/directly in the pan with a hand blender for a minute or so; make sure not to over-whiz – you still want some chunks of peas in there, for texture. Give it a good stir with your spoon and check the seasoning; it may need a bit more salt, pepper or lemon juice.

Eat the mushy peas on their own, with fish and chips or bangers and mash, or  however you fancy, really 🙂 They keep well in a Tupperware in the fridge, and can be reheated over medium-low heat. If they are too dry upon reheating, add a tiny bit of lemon juice.

 

 

 

Sunny Super Quick and Easy Carrot Salad

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Today is a beautiful Autumn day in Brussels; these sorts of clear and sunny, crisp days almost make me favour Autumn over other seasons (until it begins to rain again, that is – and Brussels is notoriously rainy).

I love the cosiness of Autumn (scarves!), the windy, sunny days and the leaves turning red and yellow. I’ve been drinking a lot of hot cloudy apple juice with cinnamon and ginger (best when made in a pot with a stick of cinnamon and a slice of fresh ginger, but in a pinch can also be made directly in a glass or mug with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and ginger and microwaved for a few minutes 😉 ). We carved some pumpkins last weekend for Halloween – first time pumpkin-carving for me, so I’m afraid the result was less than spectacular. Although my boyfriend’s one reminds me of a Ninja Turtle, which I think is ace. I propped them up on pots on the terrace outside my window so it looks like they’re peeping in, which makes me smile every time I come home. Here’s the Ninja Turtle one; please don’t judge us for our less than stellar carving abilities.

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Sunny, windy days aside, I’ve been feeling the lack of daylight already, and have found myself being drawn to and craving really vibrant, brightly coloured foods.  Enter this super bright and sunny carrot salad.

I started making Orangette’s French-style carrot salad years ago, and have sort of adapted it into an even simpler version, mainly out of laziness, and also because for a while I didn’t own a mandolin. The original recipe calls for a tiny bit of garlic, but I now completely omit this step because I often cannot be bothered to clean the garlic press, and also have tended to add a bit too much garlic and found it a bit too conspicuous when I brought the salad to work as part of a packed lunch..
Although I am a garlic fiend, I think this salad tastes just as bright and delicious without garlic.

I very often make this carrot salad, as it takes next to no time to make, keeps well in a tupperware for a day or two, and feels like pure vitamin when you eat it. The lemon juice and olive oil make a sort of juice if the salad is left to sit in the fridge for a little bit before eating, and it is simply delicious.

I have tried both julienning the carrots and grating them on the large-hole side of a grater, and I’ve come to prefer the grated version, as I find this allows for more juice to accumulate, which is very yummy. Julienning, on the other hand, makes for a prettier, crisper salad.

Anyways, here goes:

  • 1 kg carrots (just over 2 lb)
  • 5-8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-5 tbsp lemon juice (more or less the juice of one lemon)
  • about 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Peel and rinse your carrots, then grate (or julienne!) them all into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice (you can play around with this a little, adapting it to your taste and making it more lemony/more olive oil-y according to your preferences – just taste it as you go along and be careful not to add too much lemon juice!), and the salt (add a bit at a time; I use fleur de sel, but the amount of salt needed may vary according to the type of salt you use/how salty you like things). Mix thoroughly with a fork.

Store in a tupperware container in the fridge for up to two days.

P.s.: You can also add a tsp of toasted cumin seeds to the salad for a more dressed-up version – it’s delicious, and goes really well with Lebanese food, for example, especially hummus and falafel with a yoghurt-tahini dressing! 🙂

P.p.s.: Found this awesome little candle holder at my local thrift store, who’d throw this away?? Managed to break the little dude in the bag on my way home, but glued him back together and it hardly shows, I think.

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