Saturday, 3 December 2011

Banana Fudge Cookies and Canadian Buttermilk Pancakes

Twitter has turned me into a 'sleb stalker.  @Dan_Lepard, my 20 month old daughter had so much fun baking your cookies today!

The finished cookies - the pic doesn't do them justice
I'm a bit rubbish at being a mum and to be honest with you, in some ways, my daughter has the best of all worlds in that she spends days with hubby (playing football in the house), at nursery (learning politically correct songs about rainbow coloured sheep) and with me at the weekends - learning how to bake because I can just about deal with baking mess, but the thought of painting mess sends my blood pressure skywards (and I am so NOT a neat freak - I'm just scared of the husband's beady eye).

So at the weekends, I've tried to make an effort to cook with her and properly for her as during the week, things are often rushed.  I tried to instigate the tradition of pancakes when we first did baby-led weaning.  This lasted until she learned she could just pick out the blueberries and leave the rest so I gave up after weeks of wasted effort.  But today, we tried Delia's  Canadian buttermilk pancakes - mostly because I had a half open tub of buttermilk in the fridge from the disaster that was the vanilla cake last week and I wanted to use it up.

Pancakes for breakfast
Having cooked the pancakes together and been thoroughly impressed by Miss A's egg cracking skills (this girl is going to be a 'sleb chef, I just know it!) I settled her in her booster seat with our respective plates in their places.  Despite the booster seat saying 'Do not leave your child unattended' I nipped into the kitchen to collect our drinks and by the time I'd gotten back, she'd helped herself to my pancakes - hence why there is no picture of the finished pancakes!  But the pic of her whisking is so much cuter :)

Later, we made granola (my own recipe and I don't need a better one thank you very much) and then it was on to the banana fudge cookies from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet.  Okay, I'm obsessed!  Dan is my new favourite chef (for the moment) and my Thomasina Miers book has been stuffed unceremoniously back onto the shelf until Christmas is over.

Taste test
Stirring
First off was the delights of the bananas.  A few weeks back, the husband was on another get fit jag and demanded I buy a ton of bananas.  They started to go brown so rather than throw them out or feed them to the dogs (I had no time to bake a cake) I froze them in their skins.  On retrieving them, they were a strange maroon-brown colour.  Not too much of a problem.  But they were rock solid.  Not knowing how long it would take to defrost them and with a child who had been chanting 'Bake, Make, Stir' since I got her up at 7am I defrosted them in the microwave.  I haven't seen many more unappetising things than a microwave-defrosted banana.  But hey, they were going into a bake so it was about taste, not ap-peel :o)

Once the husband was up (we had to wait until after 11am) we blitzed the bananas, butter and vanilla in the Kenwood and then came time for Abigail to do the mixing.  As you can see, she had fun.  That is until she got out a baking tray and tried to turn on the oven.  The trouble with twenty-month-olds is that if you tell them they're wrong or they need to do something else, they don't take it well.  The mix has to chill in the fridge for a while.  Whilst this was happening, I had to deal with a full on tantrum.  Not pretty.
Let it snow

Thankfully she'd calmed down by the time we were read to 'Smush' and 'Siff'.  Into the oven, she watched them like a hawk until the timer pinged and then I had another battle as she wanted to eat them before they'd cooled down.  For once she actually ate all her tea (most unheard of) then a satsuma as well so by the time it got to cookie time, she fed it all to Mummy.  It's a hard job being a mum, but someone has to do it!

 A really good and simple recipe which produced beautifully soft, banana flavoured cookies and the crunch from the icing sugar dusted on before cooking is truly inspired.  Love them and will definitely make them again.

Add to this the fact that they contain oats as well, and you have a biscuit that you could pretend is quite healthy (if it wasn't for the huge amount of butter and sugar to make them all lovely and soft!).  Top notch recipe :o)  Not going to post it though - grab a copy of the book off Amazon - it's still only £8.99 and worth every penny!

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