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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Oatmeal Cookies

Busy time here, financial year end, accounts to be wrapped up, reports to be done, number, figures, totals, additions, subtractions…. I am dreaming about it.

I have also recently been drafted to create a newsletter for our workplace so a part of each week is spent researching and finding news that would apply to not only our immediate office but to our clientele also. It is interesting and a little creative, I am enjoying it but it just another addition to an already busy time right now.

In the meantime my son has come down to visit and somehow it has become a tradition for me to send him home with a care package of freshly baked cookies. It is one of those things that creep up on you, you are not sure how it happened but now you just don’t want to/can’t stop so you make time for the new tradition and so it continues…
This time around I had some porridge oats lying about so I thought I would use them up in the yummiest way possible and made oatmeal cookies (I got the recipe here). I made a double batch, he took a big bagful home and the rest were very quickly devoured by my extended household.

My household still consists of an extra 2 adults at the moment as our couple of newly minted Australian arrivals try to find their feet.
In the end, all we can do is support each other and hope that we can make the world a little less of a harsh environment for those in need. ‘Pay it forward’ seems to be the handy phrase of the moment, so yeah, do that…. And make oatmeal cookies, they are good!

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture.
Mix in oats.
Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease cookie sheets.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


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Custard Powder Biscuits

So, I am driving down the road yesterday and there is a sign, with an arrow, that says ‘Toddler Jam’. Just that nothing else, nothing to indicate what toddler jam might be for those of us who are uninitiated. I make a note to look around more carefully on the trip back…

On the trip back I see 2 more signs, identical to the first, an arrow with ‘Toddler Jam’ printed above it. I look around, trying in vain to see an event that might be construed as a toddler jam or a vending van selling jam specifically formulated for toddlers. Nothing, nothing except the unfortunate(?) placement of an industrial tree mulcher in a layby across the road from the signs with the arrows pointing directly at it…

I am left with an uncomfortable feeling that I had not fully considered the ramifications of the phrase ‘Toddler Jam’ and the feeling (or at least the hope) that the universe was playing tricks on me just for the hell of it.

Custard Powder Biscuits
Makes about 80

3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup custard powder
3 eggs, beaten
250 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well.
Add beaten eggs and vanilla.
Pour in melted butter and mix well.
Knead into a ball until all flour and custard is absorbed.
Add a little milk if dry and dough isn’t coming together.
Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls and press down lightly with a fingers on a greased biscuit tray.
Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on wire rack before storing in airtight container.

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Jelly Crystal Biscuits

I don’t know where this recipe came from but for a kids party they would be a real hit. I have been wanting to try them now for a while but just never quite got around to it. The jelly stained them in a lot brighter hues than I expected but didn’t impart a ton of flavour. They were a nice biscuit though, light, sweet and buttery add to that combination sparkly (from rolling in jelly crystals) and you have the perfect fairy party biscuit.

I was limited to 2 colours by what i had on hand but it wouldn’t be hard to make a rainbow of different ones.

Jelly Crystal Biscuits

Makes 40

1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
150g butter
1/2 cup cater sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
4x 85g packets of jelly crystals, assorted flavours

Preheat oven to 180C
Line 2 large baking trays.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
Gradually add flour mixed with baking powder.
Divide dough into 4 portions and place in seperate bowls.
Add 1 Tbls of different jelly crystals to each bowl.
Knead well until jelly is incorporated.
Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in remaining jelly crystals.
Place balls on trays and flatten with a your fingers.
Bake for 10-12 mins or until they move when pushed.
Cool on trays for 5 mins before removing to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.

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Chocolate Cookie Tart

I saw this in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to try it. It was as good as the picture looked.

Try it, you will see.

Chocolate Cookie Tart

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup malted milk powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup castor sugar
Pinch salt
170g butter, chopped
Milk to bind
180g chocolate melts
1 cup chocolate malt balls

Preheat oven to 160C.
Pulse dry ingredients in a food processor and then add the butter.
If your mix does not readily form a dough, add milk gradually until it does.
Press dough into the base of a flan tin or spring form pan.
Bake for 20-25 mins.
Remove from oven and immediately place chocolate melts on top.
Allow to melt then spread over the surface.
Meanwhile roughly chop the malt balls and scatter over before chocolate cools.
Let cool in pan then remove and slice to serve.

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Hedgehog Slice

I was asked by my daughter, immediately upon arrival, to make Hedgehog slice. This is not a request to spend time and cook together it actually translates directly to ‘I would like to eat it, please make it for me’. Good thing I like to cook (not that I really consider Hedgehog slice cooking as such).

I don’t know why they call it Hedgehog slice but hedgehogs are super cute (on the internet anyway, I’ve never met one in person) so any excuse to think about them or, better yet, browse cute pictures on the internet whilst bustling around the kitchen is welcome.

I got my recipe from here.

Hedgehog Slice

1 x 395 g tin sweetened condensed milk
250g butter melted
2 x 250 g packets Marie biscuits, roughly crushed
3 Tbls cocoa
3 Tbls coconut

250g milk cooking chocolate
2 teaspoons cooking oil

Place biscuits crumbs in a large bowl.
Add the cocoa powder and coconut and mix well.
Melt the butter and sweetened condensed milk together.
Add to the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly.
Place into a slice pan and refrigerate.
Melt icing ingredients altogether and drizzle on top of slice.
Refrigerate to set.

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Fairy Biscuits

Named after a traditional children’s party snack, fairy bread (for those not in the know, white bread, buttered and covered in sprinkles or hundreds and thousands) these were festive and fun for the kids (who had been hounding me all week to cook something sweet). These biscuits were easy to make and quick to cook. They are also easy to eat as evidenced by the fact that they lasted approximately 10 hours and that was only because I crazily insisted that they sleep in between scoffing sessions (it was the school holidays and apparently sleep is optional).

I enjoyed making these, not too sweet and more soft than crunchy; they ended up being brightly coloured and cheerful and quite a nice biscuit.

Fairy Biscuits

250 g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla essence
3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups hundreds and thousands (I used sprinkles because I had them)

Preheat fan forced oven to 190°C.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add flour and mix to form a dough.
Put the hundreds and thousands into a bowl.
Roll mixture into balls and flatten slightly.
Drop one side of the biscuit into sprinkles and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly brown on the outside.


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Date Bars

This is spur of the moment cooking. I knew I had the ingredients and the desire just came over me to cook something. In the middle of the morning I trip downstairs for a coffee and then return less than an hour later with freshly baked slice (it was a public holiday in half the country today and things were pretty slow at work. Last week when we had a public holiday I worked all day so I feel like it works out in the wash…)

This slice is very light and the dates give it a deep caramel like taste. Add that to the fact that I love anything with nuts in it and you have another winner. I will probably be the only household member that actually likes this but I am okay with that (all the more for me!!) I made a lemon cheesecake for my husband over the weekend so I am working on credit at the moment (I can do no wrong), it should last me for a week or so.

Date Bars
Makes 18 bars

1 Cup Pitted Dates, finely chopped
2 Tbls Apple Juice
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Self-rising Flour
1 Cup Walnuts, chopped
Confectioner’s Sugar

Preheat oven to 180C.  Prepare a 20cm baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine dates and apple juice.  In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Gradually beat in sugar until thick and lemon-coloured.
Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts and date mixture.
Spread in prepared baking pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the centre feels firm to the touch.
Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a cutting board.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.  Cut into squares.