The Ultimate Cookie Recipe

I have shared this recipe before on my old blog but do feel it deserves to be revisited on this new, improved page as it has been so successful and has a devoted following among my friends; It was passed to me by a friend who got it from one of her friends and I have passed it on to many of my friends in turn. Frankly it’s amazing and I don’t think anybody could dislike the cookies that it makes; gorgeously generous, crisp on the outside yet soft and slightly chewy on the inside.  It is perfectly acceptable to make the dough as below and freeze half before cooking… I like to freeze individual balls of the dough on a tray so that I can have the next batch of cookies ready in a flash with minimal washing up. Of course they are so delicious that they disappear rather quickly when given half a chance. I wouldn’t bother halving the mixture unless you only have one egg in the house; the cookies will all find a good home.

Ingredients (makes 24 great big squidgy cookies…..)

 

170g (6oz) softened butter or margarine
170g (6oz) caster sugar
170g (6oz) soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
340g (12oz) SR flour
a 200g bar of chocolate chopped into chunks. I usually use 250g for luck **

 

**NB you could replace some of the chocolate with dried fruit, fudge or similar. The fudge will melt & spread but I think we can live with slightly messy looking cookies can’t we. You could use chocolate chips but they seem a bit on the small side to me; I like my chocolate chunky! When I’m chopping my chocolate I find it easiest to leave the bar whole, lie it on a chopping board and cut the bar lengthwise then along the width of the bar like this;

 

 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 *C, grease and line your baking trays

 2. Beat butter/ marge & sugar together until creamy;

 

 

 

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla thoroughly;

 

 

 

 

 

4. Sift in flour & fold in until combined;

 

 

 

5. Stir in the chocolate chunks (I used white chocolate & strawberry and milk chocolate this time around!);

 

 

 

6. Bake heaped dessertspoonfuls 6 to a tray for 10-12 minutes (they spread out quite a bit and should be only very slightly golden when they are done. they will sink down & go flat but that’s the plan;

 

 

 

 

7. Leave the cookies to cool a little bit before lifting them onto a cooling rack or they will break apart.

 

 

  

8. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea… or maybe a lovely ice cold glass of milk.

Easy Peasy Ghosts for Halloween – Kids’ Craft

We have been decorating the house for Halloween today and I had a bit of a brainwave about something simple to make with my 5-year-old; little hanging ghost decorations! They really are super simple and you will probably have everything you need already…..

Materials Needed

Scrap of white fabric (you could use an old sheet) if it’s ragged around the edges that’s fine – in fact it looks more “ghostly”
Scissors
A black fabric pen or permanent marker
Scrap paper
sellotape
a bit of fine thread or elastic.

1. find the middle of your bit of fabric and draw a ghostly face a couple of cm below the middle. Make sure you lean on the scrap paper so you don’t mark the table!

2. Scrunch the scrap paper into a ball. Cut a length of the elastic/ thread and tie the ends together so it makes a big loop. Securely attach the loop, over the knot, with the sticky tape.

3. Snip a small hole in the middle of your piece of fabric carefully with the scissors. For younger children a grown up should probably do this but my 5-year-old could do this by herself.

4. thread the elastic/ thread through the hole so the paper ball is underneath and the face is on the top side.

5. hang your ghost up somewhere that he / she can surprise unsuspecting visitors! Wooooooooo!

Have fun!

Pumpkin Pie for Halloween

 

Pumpkin Pie is not commonly made in the UK, which I personally think is a pity. I first made it a few years ago at Halloween because I had surplus pumpkin flesh left over from lantern carving and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it; sweetly spiced, very seasonal and rather reminiscent of egg custard tarts.

Today I am making mini pumpkin pies because I will be taking them to a Halloween party this afternoon and thought that I would share my own, UK friendly recipe. Enjoy!

Mini pumpkin pies

Ingredients

The flesh of one medium sized pumpkin (approx 500g/ 1lb when cooked & drained)
50g (1.5oz) soft dark brown sugar
30g (1oz) butter
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of finely ground white pepper (optional)
A few drops of vanilla extract
200g (half a can) of condensed milk
3 large eggs
Shortcrust pastry (I used shop bought to save time)

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C

1. Grease a mini muffin tin / tart tin and line each hole with a shortcrust pastry for the case.

2. Cook the pumpkin flesh (either in a pan with a small amount of water or in a steamer) for 10 minutes or until very soft and tender.

3. Cool slightly then press the cooked flesh in a colander to remove any excess water.

4. Add the butter, brown sugar, spices and vanilla and blend or mash well. Leave to cool.

5. Beat in the condensed milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time.

 

6. Use a ladle to fill each case with the pumpkin mixture. You will have a lot left over! I like to put the leftover in silicone cake cases and make little pumpkin pie filling bites.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the filling is slightly golden.

8. Use a butter knife to run around the edge of each mini pie to loosen them then use it to carefully lift them onto a cooling rack. When they are cool enough put them on a plate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

 

I like to sift a mixture of icing sugar and a dash of cinnamon over the top before serving.

You could, of course, make a full sized pie with all of the filling. Increase the cooking time appropriately and remove from the oven when the middle is just set.

I baked my leftover filling in heart shaped cases….

If you try it, let me know what you think!

Getting back to the hooking

It’s been a while since I’ve manged to take the time to create very much so I’m really pleased that I seem to have my Mojo back. It is my sister’s birthday at the end of this week so she visited over the weekend. I decided that I would make her a present instead of buying her something that she might not like and that took very little thought (It would probably have ended up being a book since she is addicted. It’s a problem Genni!!)

Since she is allergic to wool I decided to dip into my stash of 100% cotton yarn to put something together for her. Deciding to make a lighter filet crochet design I drew up a grid and designed a repeating pattern to follow (see below. The white boxes show the gaps int he filet pattern.)

I used a fine 4ply cream coloured cotton yarn as the main body of the scarf and edged the scarf with a scallop pattern in the same yarn and embellished the ends with brightly coloured flowers, leaves and a single butterfly, using the same colours along with the cream yarn for the fringe….

What do you think? I was very pleased with the result and would have loved to have had it for myself, which is a good sign, though it took me all week to make so I doubt I will end up with a similar scarf myself any time soon! It is nice and light for this time of year so should get more wear than a hot, fluffy acrylic blend and is, of course, unique! Here’s a slightly bigger image of the embellishments;

I’m happy to say that my sister was really pleased with her present and it really suited her, which has really given me motivation to get back to creating… so watch this space…!

Just another blog…

Welcome to  my blog; a place to share my rambling thoughts, anecdotes about my two amazing children, pictures of the things I have made and hopefully a few recipes, patterns and tutorials along the way.

Firstly a little about me; my name is Natalie and I live in deepest darkest Somerset (Oh OK, slightly rural/ suburban Somerset) with my husband David and our two children Lyra (5 1/2) and Logan (3 1/2). I dabble in a variety of crafts including crochet, needle felting, sewing and even a little knitting and am pretty good at what I do. Last year I made several Christmas presents and have just started to do the same this year, there really isn’t anything quite like giving something that you have made with love. Whenever I have the time I also love to bake and enjoy trying out new recipes and adapting them either a little or a lot, usually successfully (the cross between digestive biscuits and hobnobs that I made earlier today were lovely) but nobody is perfect! I love to find out more about nature and the world around us with my children… and also about the past and my family history…. and about interesting scientific theories. In fact you could say that I am addicted to learning new things whatever the area and love to share new things that I have learned.

Of course there is more that I could say but this is bound to be the essence of my Blog. I hope you enjoy, do feel free to say hi!

TTFN! xxxxxxx