Takes the biscuit (Toffee Crunch Cookies)

I’m not really a biscuit person.  The biscuit is not one of my (many) vices.  I have loads of packets of biscuits in the house half opened because the boys are actual biscuit addicts.  Mitch can sniff out a custard cream from twenty paces and I think his first word was bourbon.  I’ve never really gone for them myself though.  They’re always a bit dry, a bit crispy, a bit sweet or not sweet enough, have that weird cream icing stuff which is just yack.   Not for me.  But because the kids are biscuit lovers I have endeavoured to find a good recipe to make them at home on the premise that a) homemade is pretty much always healthier than shop bought and b) it is a perfect wet weather activity to do with a tot.  Small people love squidging together biscuit dough – and stuffing it raw into their gobs.

As an avid recipe finder and researcher I came across a variant of this recipe yesterday and was intrigued by it so tried it straight away.   As ever, I made a few tweaks and by and large it was amazing.  Even the fact that I knew that Mitch had squidged the biscuits together whilst coughing copiously and with a slug trail of snot leaking perpetually out of his nose, didn’t stop me relishing a couple (what the heck, the little harbinger of germ-doom has already infected me with every pre-school snot borne virus in living memory, what’s a bit more cross contamination).  Then a couple more in the afternoon.  And a couple more in the evening. And a ……. oh bugger the tin is empty.  Now I wasn’t 100% happy with the results of the biscuits.  Well, I was happy with the taste clearly (oink oink) but they stuck like a bastard to the baking tray.  My husband will testify to the fact that when something doesn’t go right in the kitchen I get really cross.  We are talking twatting things accross the kitchen kind of cross.  The kind of cross that makes you red faced and slightly tearful.  So yesterday when my beautiful cookies stuck to the baking tray I managed to restrain myself from shouting at my snot-faced mini-assistant that maybe, just maybe, his ‘greasing the baking tray’ skills weren’t quite up to scratch and did the mature thing instead and wanged the half stuck biscuit across the kitchen.  I actually get really stonkingly cross at very little (husband excepted) but cooking cock ups really get my goat.  Good thing they don’t happen too often.

So today I  made another batch, recipe amended slightly and without the pestilent partner.  Perfection.  I actually mean that.  I think this is the perfect biscuit.  It’s crunchy yet chewy, sweet but not cloying and just bloody all round delicious.  The rice krispies just add a really nice crunchy chewiness you wouldn’t expect.  Really delicious.  A bit too nice in fact because I have actually lost count of how many I have eaten now and I am considering sacrificing my prawn stirfry dinner for a biscuit based diet instead.

This time the biscuits didn’t stick at all but I would say that you need to grease the baking trays really well or use a silicone tray liner and let the biscuits cool for 90 seconds and then remove them judiciously with a palette knife or fish slice and pop them on a wire rack to completely cool.

Seriously – you need to make these biscuits.  I make no apologies for the amount of sugar that they contain or any claims of their health giving properties.  They’re a treat and both you and your own snotty sproglets will love them.  PS  please tell winter to do one and take its germs with it please

Toffe Crunch Cookies – Recipe

100g butter or marg (I used Stork)

100g soft light brown sugar

175g self-raising flour

25g rice krispies

3 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate toffee/butterscotch pieces  (optional)

Method

I used my Kitchen Aid to make mine – but as ever you could use a food processor, hand mixer or just your good old hands.  Toddler assistance is optional but encouraged.

Heat oven to 140c (for fan ovens – bit more for normal) and grease copiously a couple of baking trays.  This mixture makes about 14 cookies.

Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and rice krispies and blitz again.  The mixture really looks pretty crumb-y at this point.  Add the 3 tbsp of golden syrup and give another quick mix until it binds together.  Turn off mixer and squidge the cookie dough together a bit.

Using a normal table spoon take a spoonful of the dough and pop on the baking sheet – spread them apart quite well as they do splodge out a lot when you bake them.  Squish the top of each one with a fork to flatten out.   Mitch likes to do this and shouts ‘splat, splat, splat’ at the top of his voice whilst completing the task.

Now – decorate the top with the toffee pieces.  I added about 5 little pieces to the top of each one.  You could also use choc chips.  I left half of mine plain and they still had a nice toffee taste from the syrup but the ones with toffee bits on the top just edged forward to be the yummiest. (In case you were wondering what caused them to stick the first time was me mixing the toffee pieces through the dough and forgetting that when heated toffee melts and then hardens to an unbreakable bond with anything it comes into contact with upon cooling.  So don’t do that)

Put them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  In my fan oven at 140 it took 20 mins.

As said above, leave on the baking tray to cool for 90 seconds and then remove with a pallet knife and leave to cool completely on wire trays.  Then munch and munch some more……….

I don’t even need to tell you to enjoy these cookies because I actually know for a fact you will.  In the very unlikely incident that you don’t then quite clearly you are a freak and you should send them to me and I will eat your share.

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A big fat (free) curry

Over at Tamsinsworld I blogged a recipe for fat free curry sauce ages ago.  It’s proved to be one of my most viewed recipes.  A couple of my Instagram friends reminded me last week about it and I’m cooking it this afternoon.

If you’d like to read the original post you can click here – be warned there’s some ramblings about weddings there too.  You know me, you can’t just have the recipe without having to read some general waffle as well.

Recently I’ve been cooking a lot of curries out of the Hairy Bikers rather excellent Great Curries cook book.  And great they are indeed.  Layer after layer of lovely authentic Indian flavours.  Ingredients so numerous it takes half an hour to read the recipe.  It’s the kind of cooking that I like.  Lots of faffy grinding and dry frying (during which I do usually pretend to be a chef) and I have yet to try a recipe out of the book that I don’t like.  BUT all of the recipes are pretty time consuming and involve a very well stocked spice cupboard and, pretty much without exception, while I am cooking them the boys come into the kitchen holding their noses saying ‘what’s that smell?’ and then proceed to lie on the kitchen floor making little sick noises while shouting something about Mr Poo Poo head would eat this.

This curry recipe has quite a lot going for it.  Store cupboard ingredients for a start.  The most exotic thing amongst the bunch is mango chutney.  I’m pretty sure you could buy all of the ingredients in your local corner shop.  You can make the sauce as spicy or not as you like it.  The base sauce itself is very mild – so for me and hubby I tend to whack loads of sliced chili and coriander in.  For the boys I make it a creamier version by adding some coconut milk.  Once you’ve made the sauce you can portion it out into freezable portions and then for a yummy pretty much instant, yet home cooked, dinner you can defrost and add whatever ingredients you fancy.

In a start of the year economy mission (which has not extended to the buying of shoes and boots my husband has been dismayed to see) I am trying to meal plan meticulously each week and use the same ingredients for multiple meals.  It’s a similar premise to the Save with Jamie idea.  Although it always makes me a tad suspicious when MILLIONAIRE celebrity chefs that have MILLIONS of pounds blather on about buying reduced veg at the end of the day in the supermarket and asking your butcher to cut some special economy scraggy but delicious part of a sheep/cow/pig that no-one has ever heard of but will be delicious if you add £20 of spices and slow cook it for a week.  Really Jamie, really?  Are we expected to believe that while you’re jetsetting round opening restaurants, publicising your books and saving the nutrition of the nation singlehandedly that Jules is at home trekking round the local Morrisons at 7.45pm just to see if their carrots have been reduced for quick sale? No. She is on first name terms with her local Ocado delivery men and has an Abel & Cole veg box that she looks forward to receiving each week until she remembers that actually her kids hate Kale and suspiciously knobbly looking turnip squashes just like every other kid.  Well I hope she is anyway.  In fact I kind of hope she occasionally eats a pot noodle in her pants while shouting at the telly while her husband is on that it’s all very well for him to slate a chicken nugget but when you have 4 (or is it more now?) children who haven’t seen their dad for weeks that’s what they’re having for tea thank you very much.

Anyway in the Save with Tamsin version I am mainly using leftovers better.  Planning them in to the weekly menu.  This is mainly so I can continue spending money on clothes and shoes.  Just in case you were admiring my utter selflessness.  So, yesterday in the midst of a very sorry prosecco/sambuca hangover I managed to roast a chicken.  I’ve used the carcass to make chicken stock this morning which formed the base of a yummy Thai chicken noodle soup for lunch.  (Mitch declined that needless to say.  He is going through a phase were he will only eat tuna sandwiches for lunch.  Every.  Day).  I’ve added more of the stock to the curry sauce and tonight the boys will have a fruity chicken curry and we will have chicken and spinach curry.

Just because it’s a bit annoying to have to flick over to another page to read a recipe I’ve pasted it again below.

Recipe – home made fat free curry sauce

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped small
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger grated
  • 600 ml veg stock
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons medium curry powder (use mild or hot if you prefer)
  • 3 tablespoons mango chutney

Heat 100ml of the veg stock in a pan with the chopped onion – cook with a lid on for 5 minutes or until soft.  Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the stock and the mango chutney and the tomatoes – stir well and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.  Season with a pinch of salt.

Then blend the sauce  – I used my hand held stick blender but you can do it in a food processor or even leave it chunky if you like.

We’ve had this served with biryani rice or as a base for a curry.  I like it with prawns and yellow pepper (for this I dry fried some yellow pepper cut chunky with a chopped chili and some spring onion and then added the curry sauce and some king prawns and some frozen peas and cooked for about 5 minutes – hey presto – quick spicy low fat curry)

This sauce is spicy but not too hot, I think you can then add extra chili when you serve it or even cool it down with some coconut milk.

It makes 6 adult portions (fits perfectly into 3 takeaway sized containers)

Enjoy!