Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Best Ever Cookies - courtesy of @BakingElements

When I first met the husband, he hadn't seen his parents for 10 years.  For someone who was still living close to home, and didn't go for more than a week without seeing family, I found this hard to comprehend.  Now, I understand.

Cookie Jenga
See his father lives on the Isle of Wight (his mother passed away not long after I met him).  It's not that far away.  And yet it's a pain in the backside to get to.  And expensive too.  It's just a stones-throw from where my family live.  But it takes nearly twice as long to get to because of a tiny stretch of water called the Solent.  You have to get a ferry.  Yes you can rock up and buy a ticket on the day.  But it takes a lot more planning.  The husband isn't the sort to just pop in.  And with the hassle of two dogs and a toddler on a ferry, it's not the kind of journey we'd want to undertake too often.  Knowing my husband as I do, I understand why he didn't go for ten years (too much hassle for someone who will only make an effort when it's in his own best interests) but if it was my family, I'd make the effort more often.

We never stay over either.  If you've lived on the Island - which my husband has - you appreciate the fact that it is a tourist hell-hole in the summer and bleak and soulless in the winter.  Mid-summer, you'll pay more to get the ferry to the Island than you would for a flight to the States  - okay a slight exaggeration, but mile-for-mileit's the most expensive piece of water to cross in the world.  And holiday rentals, especially ones that allow children and dogs are just plain astronomical. It would be cheaper to go to Sandals for two weeks and put the dogs and child in the Doggery (just kidding before you think of calling Social Services!)

How much chocolate??
My trauma is compounded by the fact that I also have to provide my own catering.  Our dogs are too "inquisitive" to sit patiently under the table in a pub whilst we eat.  So I have to take a picnic.  The husband always eats three times as much on these days as he normally would.  He's cracked into the box of home-made sausage rolls before we've even got to the A303.  And now with a hyper-fussy toddler to feed too, I'd just rather stick my head under the pillow and plan my Christmas dinner (which I've still not even thought about yet).

Add to this the fact that I had to fit in a run this morning and a new recipe for the challenge, my usually low blood pressure has been slightly raised somewhat today.  

Which is why I was up at 4.30am baking.  Yep.  Baking fresh cookies to go in the F-I-L's Christmas hamper.  The husband wanted to know why.  Because I have a thing about making things from scratch at the moment.  Despite my F-I-L being like my husband and eating to live rather than living to eat, I still feel this compulsion to at least put some homemade goodies in the hamper.  I swear when I proffer a box of homemade cake, he's thinking "Why didn't she just go to Morrisons and get me some Value Jam Tarts?"  Because that's exactly what my husband would say.

But it makes me feel better about myself that I've actually made some effort with his present rather than just running round the supermarket pulling boxes from shelves.  In amongst all the Christmas staples from various shops (mince pies, Christmas pudding, cheeses, pickled onions, savoury biscuits, Quality Street) there was some Nutella and SeaSalt fudge, Cherry and Pistachio cookies dipped in white chocolate, Sadia's Triple Choc cookies (today's recipe) and Chocolate Mint Truffles.  All recipes from this blog over the last month or so.

Today's recipe made THE BEST COOKIES I'VE EVER TASTED.  Seriously.  It comes from the Baking Elements blog, written by the lovely Sadia whom I met on Twitter (@bakingelements). She's a fab tweep to tweet (autocorrect just changed that to twerp - good job I noticed!!) and a splendid baker and blogger too.

Close Up
You have to hop over to her blog to find out more about the history of cookies and the recipe for them.  I don't think I'll ever use another choc chip cookie recipe again.

Only thing I did differently was to be totally lazy and use Waitrose Cooks Ingredients Chocolate Chunks rather than chopping up my own chocolate.  Purely because sharp knives at 4.30am in the morning can only lead to a minor disaster.

Am now thinking of trying these with a combination of Green and Black's dark chocolate and butterscotch chocolate next time I'm in a cookie-baking kind of mood.

Sadia, I can't praise them highly enough!  The one I ate was THE BEST BREAKFAST EVER.  As for what the F-I-L thinks?  Well by the next time the husband speaks to him (around June for other six-monthly visit) they will be a distant memory. 

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