Who thought green biscuits could be so pretty?! These buttery, crumbley shortbread treats are carefully flavoured with matcha powder that gives them a bright hue and subtle green tea flavour. It is an unusual taste, much like green tea, and one that I have grown to love. The matcha latte trend (with unsweetened almond milk,obvs) has led to a million Instagram pictures and it is no surprise a glowing bright green mug that offers many health benefits (I wanted to call it a super food then but my dietician boyfriend would murder me for using such a term!), it can now be found on many hipster coffee shop menus.
Sometimes I get a baking itch I just need to scratch! This does happen quite often. The shop just always seems SO far away though. In these situations, I tend to start rummaging around in the cupboards to see what I have left that I can turn into a sweet treat. Occasionally it will be a disaster but most of the time something delicious pops out the oven. But once in a blue moon, an unexpected masterpiece is produced! Something truly life changing. I had some left over dates after Christmas and half a bag of desiccated coconut, then I discovered some pistachios from a wedding cake order the week before. Perfect for popping into a cookie… So now I had decided on what to bake I went to grab everything else I needed but, shock horror, I only had light brown muscavado sugar left. Agh! But I threw caution to the wind and used it anyway. I’m so glad I did! The cookies were soft, chunky, chewy. Totally delicious!
As I type, today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Therefore, Spring is pretty much round the corner. From here on in, days get longer and the sun is pretty much round the corner, you can almost feel the heat (opps, no sorry, that’s the electric blanket I forgot to turn off). But for now, the mornings are still frosty and crisp and my body is screaming out to go into hibernation (Just 5 more minutes in bed! *Rolls over. Hit the snooze button for the fifth time, realise there is NO time left to snooze and now don’t have enough time to shower and have wear a hat all day to hide my greasy barnet*). Go to work in the dark, leave in the dark, just dark dark dark. All there is to look forward to in January is a rumoured new series of Peaky Blinders and Call The Midwife. Such grim days call for joyous snacks, especially of the sweet kind. My personal preference is a festive biscuit selection box. Custard creams! Bourbons! Chocolate digestives! All the winners are there and waiting to be dunked into a tea whilst curled on the sofa waiting for the wretched winter to pass.
I am an absolute cookie monster but I won’t accept any old cookie. I am what you might call, a cookie connoisseur! It has to meet my certain criteria or quite frankly, I shan’t waste the calories on it (my waistline is becoming much more susceptible to soaking up excess podge in my old age to allow a bad biccy to destroy it). I have preached many a time about the qualities of a good cookie, crunchy on the outer rim then getting chewy, almost fudge-like near the middle (hell, I even prefer mine to be under baked so they still have a ting of cookie dough about them. I’m sure it’s not health and safety friendly but what the heck?! I’d risk food poisoning for cookie nirvana). I had yet to find a perfect texture when using spelt flour as it doesn’t get that crunch or chew that I was searching for…. UNTIL NOW! I like spelt, it has much more flavour than regular flour plus it has some health benefits apparently to kind of balance out the sugary naughtiness.
Happy Easter everybody! I am currently sat in the kitchen working my way through a pile of hot cross buns and a slab of butter (cue Homer Simpson style drooling). I obviously had extensive high activity plans for today but sadly, its raining which has forced me inside with said plate of buns. What else is a girl to do?! Plus being Easter limited edition specialities, I must eat as many as I can before they disappear from the shelves for another year. Gotta make the most of them, y’know? By next week I will be back on the kale and lentils, promise (I sometimes wish I could use emojis in my writing, I would insert that little dude with the rolling eyes right about here). My favourite treat is slightly stale left over buns, slather in butter, then golden syrup and lay them into a deep baking dish with them slightly over lapping, pour over a tin of Ambrosia custard and bake in the oven on 180 degrees until the edges of the bread are golden and the custard is bubbling. Actually life changing.
It’s pretty obvs that I love cake. It’s probably not surprising that I love baking as long as it doesn’t involve marzipan (If I was ever on Saturday Kitchen it would deffo be marzipan. Or celery. Celery wrapped in marzipan… Ultimate nightmare). So today to be a bit crazy, just for today, Hollylovesbiscuits! These hobsnobs are the best sellers on my market stall. They are buttery, chewy, chocolatey, crunchy and perfect with a cuppa. You can mix things up with these depending on what you have in your cupboard, spelt flour would work just as well in this recipe. If you have no honey, golden or maple syrup can work too. Perhaps experiment using a mix of jumbo and fine oats? I have used dark chocolate on these hobnobs but I have used milk, if you are feeling really mental, why not try white chocolate! Heck, every throw in a spoonful of cinnamon. I stress it is important you use a good quality salted butter in this recipe as the flavour really comes through and the salt balances out the sweetness. Take a box of these with you next time you get invited round for dinner, you will be super popular and everyone’s new BFF.
Every third Sunday of the month I have my Hollylovescake market stall at Ascot Farmers Market and yesterday was my second appearance. I had been busy in the kitchen all day Saturday, I had baked gluten free mud cake, gluten free pistachio and carrot buns, peanut butter and jam cupcakes, carrot cake, rye and honey hobnobs, white chocolate and coconut cookies and my special of the month, sticky ginger cake. The weather had been windy and rainy all day Saturday, perfect for creating chaos in the kitchen but not so great for a market stall so my fingers were crossed the rain would disappear! The rain did subside over night, however, the wind was still gusty (which broke my gazebo resulting in me throwing a bit of a strop). Thankfully it didn’t stop the shoppers coming out, it was another successful market day chatting to lots of lovely locals and plenty of cake nibbling. I took a look around and there are lots of other great stalls offering great produce, its a perfect way to start your Sunday morning and support your local producers. I will be there on the 20th December for a super special festive market!
So, it turns out making the perfect chocolate chip cookie is pretty darn difficult. Yup, that little round beige thing with brown spots? A kitchen nightmare. Take it from a girl who has tried a million different recipes over many years. Non of them delivered 100%, there would always be a certain level of crippling disappointment. There were the ones that didn’t have enough chocolate, ones that spread too much, the ones that stuck to the baking tray, the ones that were too crunchy. I wasted a lot of time money and ingredients trying to achieve cookie paradise! To achieve perfection, I have combined my favourite bits from several recipes to create baking bohemia.