One of the things that (still) irks me is that some people don't appreciate how much home-baked goodies can cost. In fact, often two or three times as much as buying cake from a shop (depending where you shop!) The husband is attuned to this fact and often chides me for baking for my colleagues, telling me it would be cheaper just to buy a couple of bags of Tescos doughnuts for £2 and that the guys would still be just as happy as they would with home made. Deep down, I know he's right. But the rule also extends to proferring cakes to people too. If it aint home made, I'm not giving it to them.
|Lots of cookies :)|
The cost of food was the subject of a recent conversation I had with an acquaintence. This chap is a friend of my husbands and I bumped into him outside our local Tesco Express last week as I was running late for a presentation. Formalities dispensed, we somehow got round to a recent conversation this chap had had with my hubby about food bills. This guy spends £50 on his weekly shop for three, including all his cleaning and personal hygeine products. He then spends another £20 on beer.
He was horrified when my husband shared how much our food bill is (or at least how much the husband thinks we spend - we have separate finances and food and household shopping comes out of my bank account). This budget doesn't include the 2-3 bottles of wine my husband drinks a week. It does include nappies (yes, I'm bad. But something had to give and cloth nappies was the one bit I didn't do). Some of the extra spend has been on things I've needed for this challenge; but mostly the difference in bills is because every night I cook three separate dinners. I can't think of one common meal that all three family members will eat.
This chap then proceeded to lecture me in how to reduce my shopping bill. "I scour the supermarkets for the best deals on crisps. My budget is to spend no more than 12p per packet on crisps. Last week, I got a really good deal and I got them for 8p per pack. So I bought enough to last until 2014. You should go to xyz supermarket and stock up" he said.
"But we don't eat crisps" says I. He eyed my less-than-svelte figure rather suspiciously, scratched his chin in the manner of a super-villain stroking a white cat and uttered "Yee-eeeesssss" Okay, I'll admit that we do eat crisps. Except because I love crisps so much, I just can't have them in the house. I will eat through a tube of Pringles just like that.
The husband, although he denies it, is just as bad. When I first met him, and I'd just bought my own house and I'd bought a couple of multi-packs of crisps for my housewarming party. He came to stay the night before the party. Next day, getting ready, I hunted high and low for those 12 packets of crisps. I figured I was going mad and must've left them in the supermarket or something. Putting the rubbish out post-party, I discovered twelve empty crisp packets in the bin. He'd eaten them all with the bottle of wine he'd had after I'd gone to bed.
So now we have a rule. One small pack of Kettle chips each. Only on Friday nights. Only when it's a Big Brother Eviction night (he watches it, not me!). Roughly 13 packets each per year. Although they probably cost me as much annually as Mr One-Pack-A-Day-Every-Day-For-8p's do.
Anyhoo, back to the recipe. My no shop-bought sweet biscuit policy doesn't apply to Miss A who mostly eats ludicriously expensive, tasteless organic biscuits or if she's lucky, mini malted milks. But once in a while, we bake our own gingerbread men or cookies. Today's cookies of choice were Great British Bake Off Winner Jo Wheatley's Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies from this month's edition of Good Food Magazine.
I adore peanut butter and am so glad that Miss A likes it and isn't allergic to it. I was really bad and ate it all the time during pregnancy; but I now understand that that, coupled with breastfeeding when the mum scoffs lots of peanut butter can minimise the risk of peanut allergy. Phew!
I do buy Whole Earth Peanut Butter now as it has no added salt, sugar or preservatives. And to be honest, my adult palate prefers it to some of the other, more commercial brands these days. We do also only buy smooth as I used to worry about her with the nuts in crunchy. It's a shame because the cookies were lacking that little bit of bite you'd've gotten from the crunchy variety. I also wish I'd added a pinch of salt to the mixture. I use unsalted butter and I just think the mixture needed it as there was no salt coming from the peanut butter either.
We only had dark chocolate chips in the cupboard. I think they worked well for me because I feel the high sugar content of the biscuits with even more sticky sweet white chocolate would've been a little too much.
|Abigail's cookie before she got her mitts on it|
Mr "Crisp" would be horrified as they were expensive, Waitrose Belgian chocolate chunks that cost loads of money. I'm sure he would've hand cut a bar of Sainsbury's Value Chocolate instead. But after running 8 miles this afternoon, I really couldn't be bothered with the faff. Besides if you're going to make something a treat, it needs to be a top-notch treat!
I also loved Jo's tip about banging the tray mid-way through cooking to expel the air and make them chewier. The first tray, I banged with a little too much vigour. The second one, less so. I think I preferred the look of the 'more banged' ones.
A lovely little recipe. Worth buying Good Food Mag this month if you don't already for the other recipes from the lovely Jo. Will make again with a few little tweaks. Miss A's opinion was 'Mmmmmm....niiiiiiice....' High praise indeed from a nearly-two-year-old.