Category Archives: Cookies

3 Ingredient ratio cookies

In school we found ourselves asking: “why do we need maths? We are never going to use the gradient of a hyperbole anywhere in our lives! Who even cares what x equals, I want to be an artist/lawyer/journalist/psychologist/fireman.”

Pam's jar

I am pleased to let you know, that I have found a use for maths that goes beyond simple addition and subtraction – we all knew that was important, how else would we be able to count our pieces of cake or get sad as people eat all your chocolates, one by one? Maths is beyond useful in these Ratio Butter Cookies, where all you have to remember is 3 little numbers. It’s so easy, you’ll quickly forget that it’s based on mathematical principles.

Mom's dayThese 3:2:1 cookies are my go-to biscuits when I am bored, craving cookies, or when I want to make a gift for someone. As a baker, I think that giving baked goods is like giving a little part of myself to the person, so it’s a personal gift, which is my favourite type of gift. As you can see from the photos, my skills with the biscuits definitely improved the more I made them, but that’s what this blog is about: learning.

Pre and post-bake

I used these fabulous cookie cutters I got from Yuppiechef, which imprint your chosen letters and words onto the cookies. Trouble is, someone has since hidden my pack of letters, so now I have to be creative when choosing my messages, because I only have the letters that were used in past messages. How many different ways can you use the letters: T. H. E. K. E. N. D. Z.? For those of you who are good with anagrams, there’s a challenge for you.

The Kendz cookies

Ratio butter cookies – dark chocolate and orange butter cookies

Ingredients

  • 300g cake/plain flour
  • 200g salted butter (or unsalted, with a pinch of salt added later)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest (or lemon zest, but this doesn’t go as well with the dark chocolate)
  • melted dark chocolate (about 1 slab, depending on how much of the cookie you want to cover in chocolate)

Method

  1. Cream the softened butter and the sugar with the orange zest until smooth, light and creamy, almost fluffy
  2. Add the flour mix together until well-combined. You may want to get your hands in there to make sure it all comes together nicely
  3. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. It can also be frozen in a sausage shape to be cut into discs whenever you want it
  4. Heat the oven to 180ºC, and line a baking tray
  5. Roll out the cookies and cut into the desired shapes. Make sure they are all of even thickness or they will cook at different speeds
  6. Place on the prepared baking tray and place in the oven
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden and they no longer look wet. Depending on how crispy you like your cookies of course…
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely
  9. Melt the dark chocolate (double boiler or in the microwave, but be careful not to let it burn), and dip cookies as desired, placing them on baking parchment to set.

Be mine

Advertisements

Peanut butter granola bars #healthynothealthy

So I’ve decided I want to be healthy. But not really. I like the idea of being healthy, all the wonderful benefits you get from it, and those Insta-fit-foodies make their #healthy food look so damn delicious! It almost makes you want to live off fruits and veggies and protein brownies made from zucchini or chocolate mousse made from avocado. I type that and I cringe inside. Being healthy /sounds/ awful.

As a result, I am trying to weed out the delicious recipes from the ones who are trying too hard. I’ve been working on some granola bars, and they’ve turned out ok, but they’re not quite right yet. I experimented with other granola bar recipes, and, surprise surprise, it’s the unhealthy ones that work out the greatest! They are a dream to make, and they taste fabulous. I made them once, and by the end of the same weekend, I had to make a few extra batches for my brother to take to school and the household supply was finished. These things are like little bars of heaven.

They’re not all bad: they do have oats in them, which is a nice substitute for flour. But there is also flour. And a lot of (brown) sugar. But there’s dark chocolate, so that should counteract the sugar, I rate. And of course the star of these bars: peanut butter. Peanut butter just makes everything healthy. Even if it is the whole jar – in one sitting. Totally healthy, I swear! Trust me, I’m a biokineticist (with no scope for nutritional advice just by the way; make of that what you will).

Granola bars aren't exactly a pretty thing. But they are super delicious bars filled with goodness, and if they make you feel healthy, maybe you'll be motivated to do some exercise too! Even I had to move some weights to take this photo. #liftingbru

Granola bars aren’t exactly a pretty thing. But they are super delicious bars filled with goodness, and if they make you feel healthy, maybe you’ll be motivated to do some exercise too! Even I had to move some weights to take this photo. #liftingbru

I’ve adapted (South Africanised) this recipe from my favourite blogger. Her food is amazing.

 

Peanut butter granola bars

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 Coats
  • 1 C Rice Krispies
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1 C desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/4 tspn cinnamon
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 2/3 C crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped up Bournville works beautifully too

Method

  1. Mix all your ingredients together (don’t use a mixer, this will break up the Rice Krispies and you’ll lose all your texture)
  2. Press the ‘batter’ into a dish lined with baking parchment (or foil would work too). Make sure you press it all together quite well, or it can crumble a bit a lot when you cut it
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180  degrees for 30 minutes or until the edges start to go brown (cooked brown, not burnt!)
  4. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Maybe go for a run while you wait – see: healthy granola bars!

 

Coffee London – broadening horizons

In my effort to learn more about coffee, I took advantage of my time in London to try out as many of their different coffee options as possible. On a student/intern budget, this was difficult. But who needs real food anyway?

I had this coffee to give commercial brands their due. BUT: down with the corporation! Just kidding. Although their coffee is consistent, it's nothing special. Their food and browies and mini loaves are pretty good too, but not something you can justify too regularly at those prices (well, for a student anyway)

I had this coffee to give commercial brands their due. BUT: down with the corporation! Just kidding. Although their coffee is consistent, it’s nothing special. Their food and browies and mini loaves are pretty good too, but not something you can justify too regularly at those prices (well, for a student anyway)

Coffee selfies are so cliché right?  Viola's was right by my house, and their cinnamon rolls were inspirational!  Route was ambitiously situated right next door to Starbucks, but their coffee was not really the greatest...  Leif was in Leamington Spa, but it was a great caffeine fix, though not a very refined brew. The golden coffee was a caramel hazelnut latte of deliciousness with fudge chunks on the whipped cream. It was, obviously, out of this world.

Coffee ‘selfies’ are so cliché right?
Viola’s was right by my house, and their cinnamon rolls were inspirational!
Route was ambitiously situated right next door to Starbucks, but their coffee was not really the greatest…
Leif was in Leamington Spa, but it was a great caffeine fix, though not a very refined brew.
The golden coffee was a caramel hazelnut latte of deliciousness with fudge chunks on the whipped cream. It was, obviously, out of this world.

Pret is on just about every corner in London, and their coffee is pretty decent. I had their hazelnut chocolate bells and whistles latte thing that was amazing. Their food is pretty good, and, as with all chains, they provide consistency in their quality

Pret is on just about every corner in London, and their coffee is pretty decent. I had their hazelnut chocolate bells and whistles latte thing that was amazing. Their food is pretty good, and, as with all chains, they provide consistency in their quality

This little place was right along my way to work. It was a quaint little set up, with good coffee and your usual treats and snacks (here I had a Cowboy cookie that was really delicious), of really good quality. Perfect for an on-the-go-cuppa

This little place was right along my way to work. It was a quaint little set up, with good coffee and your usual treats and snacks (here I had a Cowboy cookie that was really delicious), of really good quality. Perfect for an on-the-go-cuppa

Their coffee and their food was really great! Situated on Whitechapel High Street, near the Aldgate stations. When I was there, they didn't have a sign outside so it was quite hard to find, but so worth it once I did!

Their coffee and their food was really great! Situated on Whitechapel High Street, near the Aldgate stations. When I was there, they didn’t have a sign outside so it was quite hard to find, but so worth it once I did!

Love in a cup.jpg

Love in a Cup wins my vote as best of the coffees that I got to try in London. It is in the famous Brick Lane, in a little hole in the wall, with a super cute inside set up. It has character, great coffee, and sweetness. The service was lovely, and their prices were also reasonable compared to what you may pay at other London establishments. Their coffee was truly superb (as was their white chocolate chip cookie)

 

Freshly brewed cake

I am finally in England, and I finally have my degree! Could that be any more exciting?

Brace yourself

Winter is certainly not coming, it is most definitely here. Feel it! It is wonderful. Before I tell you anything about the most perfect cake in my life right now, I need to give you some advice, especially if you are not from a cold country. Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you need to be cold too! I arrived with my South African winter coats, bracing myself against the cold. I expected the cold, and I was ready to deal with it. Little did I know that you can actually wear a genuinely warm jacket, and you don’t have to feel the cold at all. You can also get really stylish jackets too (fancy that…), so there is no excuse! This revelation has saved me, and I look forward for my next few weeks in this bitter yet beautiful city.

Another great thing about being here in the big city is all the new coffee opportunities. I can continue to hone my skills in the brewed art, however finding a good cup of coffee has been surprisingly difficult thus far. And my English Granny complains about the coffee in SA? She clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about. One coffee that does not fail, however, is this delicious and delectable coffee cake.

This espresso sponge cake with mocha buttercream frosting is truly the best cake recipe I have stumbled upon yet

This espresso sponge cake with mocha buttercream frosting is truly the best cake recipe I have stumbled upon yet

As I must have mentioned before, this blog is largely about me learning to cook and bake, and become a better food photographer. You are joining me on my learning experience, my delicious food-journey, venturing into the unknown as I experiment with new foods and techniques. Obviously, this learning takes some proactivity, so I started an online cooking course, which turned out to be super handy and educational! It was kind of basic, but there were definitely a few technical tips in there that I picked up and they did have some great recipes that you had to complete as part of the course before you could move on. That includes this amazing coffee cake, which has literally become my favourite cake recipe ever thus far, and some amazingly simple sugar/butter cookies that are easier and simpler than mine.

Pam agreed with me on the coffee cake and on the biscuits. Hi Pam

Pam agreed with me on the coffee cake and on the biscuits – delicious. Hi Pam

The coffee sponge is so light and fluffy, with just enough coffee that it’s not overpowering but that you still get sufficient coffee flavour. The instruction video describes the ‘beautiful caramel coloured cake batter’ but I thought it looked basically the same as normal cake batter. It was still a very tasty cake batter (had to make sure there was enough coffee in there of course… There was).

It was literally the largest cake tin I have baked in - it was unnecessarily large, and I ended up with a single layer cake, contrary to instruction

It was literally the largest cake tin I have baked in – it was unnecessarily large, and I ended up with a single layer cake, contrary to instruction

I made this cake during my final exams, and it certainly kept me going for a portion of my studying. Unfortunately, it sat beside me, smelling wonderful, and it didn’t keep me company for long enough. Made for a good study snack of course at least.

Make sure to let your cake cool...

Make sure to let your cake cool…

The other problem with a single layer cake was that there was just too much icing for it, but there would have been just too little for a double layer one. I topped the cake with toasted walnuts the first time, but was disappointed by their flavour (which I was pretty new to), so I used pecan nuts the second time. I need to find a way to use pistachios, those are amazing (and addictive…).

The walnuts looked pretty good on this single layer espresso cake, but I do prefer the pecan nuts, as I used earlier in this post

The walnuts looked pretty good on this single layer espresso cake, but I do prefer the pecan nuts, as I used earlier in this post

The cookie recipe is one for the books; or one for your mental recipe book, as it is that easy to remember and execute. They use a really basic 3-ingredient cookie recipe, that works according to a ratio, and can be adapted to your tastes. In these, you add a dash of lemon zest, which gives them a perfect dash of flavour. The cookies are straightforward and reliable, as a genuine cookie should be.

Christmas sugar/butter lemon cookies

Christmas sugar/butter lemon cookies

Happy Christmas indeed!

The recipes are both from my favourite online shopping site, and they can be found here and here. Enjoy!

Everything thing brownies

Have you ever done the everything thing? I’m at the stage in my life where it is happening very often, and it makes sense: I have so many big choices to make, and everything seems to have culminated into this period of my life. Never have I been faced with so many options and life paths, and it’s getting almost overwhelming.

So I decided to bake of course.

These were originally meant to be “kitchen sink brownies” but as I realised how much these brownies were becoming a metaphor for my life at the moment, they became Everything Thing brownies.

Baking Everything Thing brownies to distract myself from life choices

Baking Everything Thing brownies to distract myself from life choices

I am finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in a few days (couldn’t be more excited for it to be over!) and I now have the potential of the big bad world ahead of me. Let me just warn you that University pretty much doesn’t really prepare you for real-world activities, only life can do that. I am scared that wherever I decide to go, I will end up having learnt all about the industry, but not enough about how to do a job in it. Well, these are just my concerns and fears for the future. And then there’s the fact that I don’t even know what I’m going to do with my life.

These are the contents, not the ingredients of Everything Thing Brownies. The Snickers were strong, bordering overpowering, and the Rolo's disappeared. The Creme Caramels also disappeared, but that's because I ate them before they made it into the brownies

These are the contents, not the ingredients of Everything Thing Brownies. The Snickers were strong, bordering overpowering, and the Rolo’s disappeared. The Creme Caramels also disappeared, but that’s because I ate them before they made it into the brownies

I am going to London in two weeks time (looking forward to more travel pieces, yay!) and I am going to be spending time at a cool company there. I am meant to be returning to South Africa mid-January to start my honours degree back home in Johannesburg, which is cool because there’s not as much real life when you’re a student, however, yet another year of studies? It better be good. This obviously depends on whether or not I get accepted into my chosen University.

Looking back, though, I am heartsore to be leaving my current student life behind. I have recently met a huge number of wonderful people. I made biscuits for one of them with some cool new cookie cutters that I ordered online. I need some practice with them, but I am very pleased with my purchase. It’s going to suck leaving all these awesome people in this crazy little town.

Cookie jars are the cutest gifts I think <3

Cookie jars are the cutest gifts I think ❤

"Hi Pam"! "Pam and Chris". It's easier to make cookies like this for someone else rather than admitting just how lonely the future could be...

“Hi Pam”! “Pam and Chris”. It’s easier to make cookies like this for someone else rather than admitting just how lonely the future could be…

As far as the taste of the brownies are concerned: matched my life as well. They seemed like a really good idea at the time, and I was accumulating the ingredients and building up to and enjoying the idea of these little gems. They looked like they would work out, everything was great on paper. When I finally got around to it, it was actually pretty disappointing. The Snickers kind of ruined them on the first bite, because of the intense peanut flavour and the way that the caramel went quite hard… Once I got over the initial surprise of the flavour though, things got better. So that’s where I am right now: initial bite was rough, but I know it can only get better. Especially if you make the most of the other cool things going on in there, like Oreos and M&M’s.

Everything Thing Brownies (ET Brownies) are officially a thing. Just incorporate everything that makes you happy, and your life will match up eventually <3

Everything Thing Brownies (ET Brownies) are officially a thing. Just incorporate everything that makes you happy, and your life will match up eventually ❤

Marshmallow frosting and quick Oreo truffles

While trying to come up with a title for this post, I was hit by a disgustingly sweet and delicious bit of inspiration… It’s going to be amazing, even better than these wonderful and fairly easy treats, which, for the moment, don’t go together (unless you really want them to…).

Oreo truffles are easy and delicious

Oreo truffles are easy and delicious

Omnomnom. Slutty brownies are her favourite treat, hence choosing to top those with this amazing frosting

Omnomnom. Slutty brownies are her favourite treat, hence choosing to top those with this amazing frosting

Slutty brownies were the request for the evening (I don’t blame them) but marshmallow frosting was just like sugar overload and excessive but amazing of course.

Cupcake versions of the slutty brownie worked pretty well

Cupcake versions of the slutty brownie worked pretty well

The Marshmallow frosting is something that I am still working on – it was delicious, but it needs a bit of refining. I will share the recipe with you, give it a try, maybe it works out better for you (but how wrong can you go with that much sugar and egg whites? Meringue is one of the best things in the world!).

Mmm foamy...

Mmm foamy…

Meringue and marshmallow is so satisfying when it is a success

Meringue and marshmallow is so satisfying when it is a success

Not enough sugar in the marshmallow stuffed choc chip cookies from this recipe, apparently more frosting was required on the top as well

Not enough sugar in the marshmallow stuffed choc chip cookies from this recipe, apparently more frosting was required on the top as well

I ended up with a fair amount of leftovers, so obviously we had to get rid of it in the classiest manner possible

I ended up with a fair amount of leftovers, so obviously we had to get rid of it in the classiest manner possible

The Oreo truffles are the easiest little gems to whip up – super delicious, practically fool proof, and a very short list of ingredients. And the flavours complement each other spectacularly: you have the sweet Oreos mixed with the almost-savoury cream cheese, and dipped in a bitter dark chocolate which offsets the extreme sweetness of the Oreos. Well, this is what I have heard, I didn’t think the Oreo centre was that sweet at all, but I’m just not as sensitive to that sort of thing. Go ahead, give me more sugar!

I may have a slight Oreo addiction

I may have a slight Oreo addiction

I've only recently learnt to truly appreciate cream cheese (glad it didn't happen even later in my life, I would have missed out on so much!)

I’ve only recently learnt to truly appreciate cream cheese (glad it didn’t happen even later in my life, I would have missed out on so much!)

Neat little balls of Oreos and cream cheese

Neat little balls of Oreos and cream cheese

I used my new chocolatier to melt my chocolate - it's a seriously handy little device!

I used my new chocolatier to melt my chocolate – it’s a seriously handy little device!

Marshmallow frosting inspired by Martha Stewart’s High Hat frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Caster sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (not tartaric acid which almost happened in a lapse of concentration)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Place sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tarter in a heat proof bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until foamy
  2. Place bowl over a pot of water simmering at low heat. Continue to beat on high speed for about 10 minutes until stiff peaks start to form
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract
  4. Pipe onto whatever tickles your fancy, and a bit of toasting might go down well as well

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients

  • 16 Oreos
  • 110g Plain cream cheese
  • 110g melted Bournville (or dark chocolate of your choice – Bournville is still nice and sweet and not too bitter)

Method

  1. Crush the Oreos – liquidize them or place them in a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin if you feel like letting off a bit of steam
  2. Add the cream cheese to the crushed Oreos, mix well (can be done in the mixer) until there is cream cheese all throughout the mixture (it mustn’t be too white and visible though)
  3. Form into balls
  4. Melt the chocolate, and dip the Oreo balls in the chocolate, ensuring they are fully covered
  5. Leave to set on wax paper or

Rolo-stuffed milk chocolate chip cookies

Now, I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but these were literally the most amazing cookies I have ever made and ever eaten. The slutty brownies were pretty good as far as taste goes, but these cookies are definitely the most delicious things that I have EVER baked.

Big Rolo-stuffed milk chocolate chip cookies - the best I have ever had

Big Rolo-stuffed milk chocolate chip cookies – the best I have ever had

I had something else planned and ready to make for quite a while, but a craving for buttery cookies interfered with that, and so the Rolo-cookies were born! It took a while for me to make them because I kept eating all the Rolos… Oops…

I managed to perfect the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I initially had, although this time I used milk chocolate chips to complement the milk chocolate in the Rolos. It worked out quite nicely, as it was a nice draw away from my traditional Bournville.

The cookies are chewy, but not too much, and they don’t taste like butter (although the craving was most certainly satisfied). They are best enjoyed warm when the caramel inside the Rolos is still all melty and bursting with flavour, but cold Rolos are just as delicious, are they not?

I had to use the big Rolo slabs as my initial Rolo supply because they didn't have any rolls the first time I went. This meant massive cookies, but that's not a legitimate problem, is it?

I had to use the big Rolo slabs as my initial Rolo supply because they didn’t have any rolls the first time I went. This meant massive cookies, but that’s not a legitimate problem, is it?

Rearing to go - those beautiful mounds waiting to be transformed from delicious cookie dough into chewy, Rolo-stuffed, melted perfection

Rearing to go – those beautiful mounds waiting to be transformed from delicious cookie dough into chewy, Rolo-stuffed, melted perfection

Ready and large. Give those babies just a few minutes to cool, then grab one while it's still warm with a melted caramel and chocolate centre

Ready and large. Give those babies just a few minutes to cool, then grab one while it’s still warm with a melted caramel and chocolate centre

They are still delicious once cooled. And once you've started eating them, you don't worry about how pretty they are anymore.

They are still delicious once cooled. And once you’ve started eating them, you don’t worry about how pretty they are anymore

I even attempted to make caramel for the first time - it needs some work, but definitely on the way to success

I even attempted to make caramel for the first time – it needs some work, but definitely on the way to success

Caramel-filled heart - now that's true love indeed <3

Caramel-filled heart – now that’s true love indeed ❤ (and true love is always messy, particularly if you rush it)

Rolo-stuffed milk chocolate chip cookies

Makes 18 smaller cookies, 12 large ones (with big Rolo bits)

Ingredients

  • 150g salted butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (130g chopped up Cadbury Dairy Milk)
  • 2 rolls of Rolos

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius, and line your baking tray
  2. Cream the butter
  3. Add the sugar to the creamed butter, and beat until well-mixed
  4. Add the two eggs and beat until well-combined
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until you have a consistent dough. This dough is not too dry and holds its form fairly well
  6. Add in your chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture
  7. Prepare bottom cookie layer, making sure there is enough flattened out cookie dough that when there is a Rolo sitting neatly on there, it has a fair amount of dough surrounding it. This helps in step  8. Place Rolo on each cookie base
  8. Place your top cookie layer on top of the Rolo, and press down the sides, tucking that Rolo neatly and comfortably in there, ready for a cosy nap
  9. Place tray on middle rack and bake for 15 minutes (depending on the oven)
  10. Remove from oven and let cool. After 10 minutes, eat one, and marvel at its greatness, then let the others cool and save them for later