Sweet and tart: chocolate and cherry cookies

chocolate and cherry cookiesPart of having your birthday is taking treats to work for your colleagues. As we both work in big offices, that means lots of colleagues, and cookies are always a great option in that case. These are the cookies my boyfriend chose to take for his birthday. The recipe is from my trusted Les cookies de Laura Todd book (the basic recipe is always the same, so you can add whatever you want). I made a huge batch (hoping to have some left for the weekend) but not a single cookie returned… the dried cherries needed for this recipe are now a big hit in my household, some end up in granola, others just go “missing”. Here’s how to make them:

Preheat the oven to 140 C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mix 250 g softened butter (you can use margarine as well) with 350 g soft brown sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 1 egg and beat well until incorporated. In two batches, add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well), a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well) and a pinch of salt and mix well. Now add 150 g dried cherries (chopped if they are too large) and 250 g dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

Roll small balls of dough with your hands, put them on a baking sheet and flatten it lightly with the back of your hand. Space the cookies well apart as they will spread. Put in the oven for 15-20 min. Enjoy!

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Sophisticated treat: tea finger cookies

Tea Finger CookiesThese cookies are a long time favourite of mine, I’ve made them time and time again because they are easy and delicious to make (and because I love tea of course – if you don’t like tea, then these cookies are not for you). They passed an important taste test as well: the “colleague yummy factor”. They got two thumbs up from all my colleagues! My colleagues often act as guinea pigs, and so far without objecting. This recipe comes from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible, yes, it exists and I love it! It contains over 400 recipes actually, so a long way to go still before I tried the lot… I’m sure my colleagues won’t mind!

Here’s how to make them: beat 150 g softened butter with 115 g light muscovado (brown) sugar until light and creamy. Beat in 2 tbsp Lady Grey tea leaves (about 6 bags), followed by 1 egg and 200 g flour. Using your hands, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a long cylinder. Put it on a sheet of cling film and gently press down on the top of the dough to flatten it slightly. You are aiming for a long rectangular shape. Wrap the dough in the cling film and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour (can be longer of course).

cutting your cookie
Cutting your cookies

Heat the oven to 170 C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it and, using a sharp knife, cut the dough widthways into 5 mm slices. Place on the prepared baking sheets (no need to space them far apart, they won’t move). Sprinkle the cookies with a little demerara sugar and bake for 10 min until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 min before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy while listening to Little Old Lady from Pasadena by Jan and Dean.

You can of course let your imagination run wild and try this with any kind of tea leaves you fancy. Let me know which combinations you came up with!

Cookies any style

cookies any styleWhen my classmates discovered my blog, they immediately thought it was about time they saw some of the good stuff too, so I decided to take some cookies to the exam (the class in question is my evening class Polish, I quite like languages). I didn’t want to do the same old tried and tested recipes all over again, so I decided to have some fun with it and come up with my own combinations. I made a basic cookie recipe, divided the dough in 3 part and went for 3 different combinations: M&Ms cookies, white chocolate and peanut butter cookies and bresilienne cookies (with nuts and caramel) and they all turned out great, so there were not a lot of cookies left for my colleagues the next day!

Preheat the oven to 140 C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mix 250 g softened butter (you can use margarine as well) with 350 g soft brown sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 1 egg and beat well until incorporated. In two batches, add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well), a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well) and a pinch of salt and mix well. Now add 380 g of whatever you like, or split the dough in 3 parts and add 125 g m&m’s to one part (I used the one with peanuts in them and left them whole for a fun effect and maybe also because I’m a bit lazy). For the second part, I opted for 125 g white chocolate (chopped) and 2 tsp peanut butter and for the final part I added 125 g bresilienne mix or praline (I still had enough left from making the caramel and nuts for my almond praline cake – it keeps well in an airtight jar). Enjoy while listening to Mahna-mahnam from the muppet show.

More foolproof and delicious cookies:

> Rum raisin cookies
>  Ginger and white chocolate cookies
>  Cacao and white chocolate cookies
>  Green tea cookies
>  Caramel cookies
> Apple and oatmeal cookies
> Smarties cookies
> Chocolate chip cookies
> White chocolate and cranberry cookies

Deliciously sticky: caramel cookies

Caramel cookiesA colleague of mine decided to switch teams and when his last day on the desk next to mine came up, it seemed only logical to bake some cookies to mark the occasion. I again opted for a recipe from my trusted Les cookies de Laura Todd book. It’s a great book: the basic recipe is always the same, so once you get the hang of it, you can add whatever you want! For now, I’m sticking to the recipes suggested in the book, but I’ll try my luck at new combinations soon, I have plenty of ideas already! But first, back to this recipe. I used Carambar in it, which are French very hard caramel sticks. If you can’t find those, any tough tooth sticking caramel will do!

Preheat the oven to 140 C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Cut 150 g caramels (I used regular Carambar, the recipe recommends using the Cub’s, which are caramels coated in chocolate) in small pieces (about 3 to 5 mm large). Mix 250 g softened butter (you can use margarine as well) with 350 g soft brown sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 1 egg and beat well until incorporated. In two batches, add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well), a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well) and a pinch of salt and mix well. You can add the chopped caramel at this point by hand (as the dough is quite hard) as I did, or you can first put batches of dough on your baking sheet, and push 3 to 4 caramel pieces in each as the recipe suggests.

Roll small balls with your hands, place them on the baking sheet (space them apart as they will spread) and push 3 to 4 pieces of caramel in each if you haven’t added the caramel to your dough already. Make sure the caramel is tucked away and not visible on the surface. Put in the oven for 15-20 min. Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The caramel will melt in the oven and get bubbly, but once cooled it will be rock solid again, so you may want to serve the cookies with a good dentist recommendation as well! Enjoy while listening to Caramel by Soulwax, a beautiful Belgian song, allowing you to really savour the cookies.

Comfort in a cookie: cacao and white chocolate cookies

Cacao and white chocolate cookiesChocolate always does the trick when it’s cold and dark outside, and if you add even more chocolate to them, you can hardly go wrong! That’s why this seemed the perfect recipe for a batch of cookies to take with us when visiting a young family. In return, we got chocolate cake with our drink which was delicious too! This recipe again comes from my book “Les cookies de Laura Todd” which is rapidly becoming a household favourite.

Preheat the oven to 140 C. Mix 250 g softened butter (or margarine) with 350 g soft brown sugar. Add 1 egg and mix again. Add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well) in 2-3 batches, a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well), a pinch of salt and 50 g cacao powder (I didn’t have that much left in my box, so I ended up using only 25 g, which worked just as well. Just to say that you don’t need to stress over the exact measurement) and mix well. Add 375 g white chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

Using an ice-cream scoop, take a scoop of dough and release it on the baking sheet. Flatten it lightly with the back of your hand. Space the cookies well apart as they will spread to a diameter of 8-10 cm (if that’s too big for you, just roll smaller balls with your hands, that’s what I did for this batch). Put in the oven for 15-20 min. Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Or eat them still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a hot chocolate… Enjoy!

A great gift: rum-raisin cookies

rum-raisin cookiesA great gift to yourself that is 🙂 These are absolutely delicious! I found the recipe in the Oxfam Christmas catalogue. I always browse it as it’s full of great gift ideas, and this year it also contained a few recipes (for which you can buy most ingredients in their store of course). When I say this one, I knew it was a winner straight away! I made it as a gift for my great-uncle, but after tasting them (as you can see in the picture, the “chef’s cookie” is already missing from action), I decided to keep quite a few for myself too… sooooo good!

Here’s how to make them: heat 150 g raisins in a mixture of 120 g water and 60 gram dark rum until it’s almost boiling. Leave to simmer for 30 min until almost all the liquid is gone. Pour through a sieve and leave to cool for 30 min.

Heat the oven to 180 C. Mix 120 g softened butter with 150 g light muscovado sugar (I used the one you need for Mojitos but I’m sure it will work with regular sugar as well) until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in a pinch of salt followed by 250 g self-raising flour in 5 batches. You may need to do this by hand for the final batches. Finally, add the raisins and mix for another 30 seconds (or use your hands again). Put balls of the dough on a prepared baking sheet and flatten them a little with your hand. Bake for 12-15 min until the edges are light brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 min before transferring to a wire-rack to cool completely. A great gift alongside a bottle of rum, if you still want to give them away after tasting them that is! Enjoy!

Sweet and chewy: green tea cookies

Green tea cookiesI bought a batch of green matcha tea powder a while ago and now I finally got round to using some in these delicious cookies! I used white chocolate so they were very sweet, but you can use dark chocolate too if you prefer. I found the recipe in a small French cookbook full of American style cookies, called Les cookies de Laura Todd. A colleague of mine who knows my love for chewy cookies recommended it to me and it turned out to be a fabulous tip, I’m totally loving the book already, so watch out for more tasty recipes in the future!

Preheat the oven to 140 C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mix 250 g softened butter (you can use margarine as well) with 350 g soft brown sugar until fluffy and soft. Add 1 egg and beat well until incorporated. In two batches, add 375 g self-raising flour (or use regular flour and add 1 tsp baking powder as well), a pinch of vanilla powder (I used a small bag of vanilla sugar, you could use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract of the seeds of half a vanilla pod as well), a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp green tea in powder and mix well. Add 380 g white chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (you can use dark chocolate as well or split the dough in half and add 190 g of each to make two types of cookies).

Using an ice-cream scoop, take a scoop of dough and release it on the baking sheet. Flatten it lightly with the back of your hand. Space the cookies well apart as they will spread to a diameter of 8-10 cm (if that’s too big for you, just roll smaller balls with your hands). Put in the oven for 15-20 min. Enjoy!