Cops & Spiders| Apple Pie Biscuits

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know The Spider Story.

If you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

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Essentially, I had a great time joking around (mostly… Seriously, I need an on-call spider killer. Please. Apply within.) with the Kensington Police about sending someone to squish a spider for me. Before long, it had taken on a life of its own, and I found myself delivering morning tea to the station to say thanks for them having an excellent sense of humor.

I had a really great morning getting to meet Senior Sargent Goy, Constable Roberts and the rest of the team. But what I enjoyed the most was getting to chat to them about their love for Vic Park, swapping coffee tips and restaurant finds, and generally sharing the love for an up-and-coming hub. It was really lovely to spend time with people who genuinely love the city that they serve and protect, and are working towards making it a better place. Hats off to you, Kenso Cops!

Biscuits are essentially American scones, typically made with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (it’s in the fridge section of the supermarket with the milk), this is my favourite substitute. Works a treat!

Coming into Spring, these are a great treat to take along on a picnic (that still happens, right?) or barbecue. If your kids are on holidays, this is also a great recipe for them to make themselves.

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

From Joy the Baker

 

For the apples:
1  apple
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:
2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and set aside.

For the apples, peel and slice thinly with a mandolin. Toss together the apple slices with the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until coated, then place in a baking tray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside (you don’t want the apple cooked through).

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To make the dough, place the flour and cold butter in a bowl bug enough to get your hands in to. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the sugar. Add 2/3 cup of buttermilk, then mix together until well combined and the mixture is moist, soft and holds together. Add more buttermilk if needed.

Dust your bench well with flour, then turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a rectangle, the, with a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle about ½ inch thick, about 18cm by 25cm.

Spoon the apples in a single layer over half of the dough, leaving a small border. Fold the rest of the dough over the apples, and press the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 12 then place on to your baking tray.

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Combine together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm or cold, with custard or cream. Or ice cream. Or on their own. It’s all good.

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I found that they went a little soggy the day after, so they’re best eaten the day you make them (they’re still delicious the next day though, so don’t let a little soggy stop you).
P.S. If you know of a cop in your community who’s doing an amazing job, why not nominate them for a WA Police Excellence Award?

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Welcome to the dark side. We have cookies.

I wish I could tell you that there is some kind of story as to why I made these cookies. Some kind of tale about visiting friends, sharing a biccie over a cup of tea; a true soul bonding moment.

No such luck, my dear reader. It comes down to my two favourite things. Gluttony and obsession. Once I happened across this recipe, I could think of nothing else until I made them. I mean, it’s caramel, with nutella, in a chocolate chic chip cookie. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of, if my dreams were anything like this. Which, let’s be honest, they are.

It goes without saying that these are most certainly a sometimes food.

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They’re playing jump rope with that fine line between you and diabetes. But what’s the point in life if you can’t enjoy a sugar bomb once in a while? One that’s not worth living, that’s what. So go ahead.

Salted Caramel & Nutella Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Top With Cinnamon

1/2 cup (110g) butter
1 1/2 cups (350g) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (55g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
100g milk or dark chocolate chips
flaky salt, for sprinkling
Nutella
15-16 caramel-filled chocolates (or whatever flavour you like – mint would also be excellent)

Preheat the oven to 180*c. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar and eggs, stirring to combine. Add the cocoa, salt and baking powder, then the flour, stirring well to combine. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips.

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Take about 1 tbsp of dough, flatten it into a disc; take 1 piece of caramel chocolate, dunk it in the Nutella, then wrap the cookie dough around the chocolate.

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Place on the cookie tray, then gently press flat with your palm (but don’t crush the chocolate). Sprinkle the cookies with flaky salt, then bake for 8-10 minutes.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Sometimes dreams come true

Everyone has their weakness. 

Some can’t leave a bottle of wine unfinished, while Pringles come with a warning literally printed on the can. I know a woman who ate a whole wheel of cheese to herself in two sittings and gave herself kidney stones. Actually, that’s probably an example of what not to do. I think there’s a 12 step program for that. One of my many weaknesses are cookies. Please, do not leave Tim Tams near me if you want them to live to see another day. 

Like many bakers, I’m  always on the hunt for what is our Holy Grail: The perfect chocolate chip cookie.

This is not that recipe, not today.

What it is, however, is a glutton’s dream. A giant cookie, as a cake. With peanut butter icing. And extra chocolate chips for good health measure.

I’ve always found it odd that recipes include measurements for chocolate chips. Let’s be honest, it’s usually a whole packet, minus whatever gets eaten during the cooking process. 

You’re welcome, world. 

If your cake worked like mine, it took nearly twice as long to cook as the instructions said. Maybe don’t do what I did, which is constantly open the door to check on it, because it then also sank. If your cake does do both of those things, then relax because icing hides all sins, and no one will stop eating long enough to care. 

Overloaded Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

From Sprinkle Bakes

Cookie Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips – use a mix of milk, dark and white (and peanut butter chips, if you can find them)

Peanut butter frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups icing sugar
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons milk

Extra chocolate chips, chopped, to decorate
Peanuts, chopped, to decorate

Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease a cake tine and line with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla. In a seperate bowl, combine the sifted flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add the flour mix to the butter and sugar mix, and combine until a batter forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, spreading evenly.

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Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes (though mine took 40, keep an eye on it), or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools, make the icing.

Beat together the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add the salt and icing sugar, beating until well mixed. Add the milk, a splash at a time, until it comes together and is smooth.

Ice the top of the cake, and decorate with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips.

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Playing the random game

Today, I don’t have a story to tell you. Some days that happens.

Instead, we are going to play my favourite non-board game, ‘Tell me something random’. To be fair, if you’re going to be spending some time hanging around here, you should know what you’re getting yourself in for…

  • I believed for a very long time that vampires lived in my cupboard, and so all doors had to be closed when I went to bed at night so they wouldn’t eat me. True story.
  • I have never broken a bone. I have compressed 5 vertebrae, and scored myself a wicked black eye, though. Does that count?
  • I love notebooks. I don’t like to write in them though, because it ruins the pretty white pages and I hate that. I’m aware that’s stupid.
  • If being 26 and still obsessed with dinosaurs is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
  • Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a good enough reason to take a nap.
  • I truly believe that ice cream should be its own food group. I mean, it goes in milk shakes, sundaes, on waffles, it comes in a bajillion flavours… I’d eat it every day if I could.
  • I’m a ridiculous Harry Potter fan, however I refuse to watch the final movie because once I do, it’s all over. I haven’t worked out how to deal with that.
  • I don’t like mangoes. Or avocados. I know! I know! I’m weird.
  • I believe Grumpy Cat is my soul mate.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
280 g chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
155 g chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Beat together the peanut butter, sugars, egg, butter and vanilla. Slowly combine the flour, bicarb soda and salt until combined. Fold through the chocolate chips evenly.

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Roll a couple of tablespoons worth of dough into a ball and place on the baking tray, spaced apart a couple of inches apart.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff and begin to brown on top but are still very soft to the touch. Leave the cookies to cool completely.

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I warn you, these are a very soft cookie. A super delicious, soft and crumbly cookie. I used Gabriel’s dark chocolate that I found in my house (surprise stash!), chopped it up and threw it in the mix. The chocolate remained gooey once the cookies cooled. YUM.

P.S. I’d love to take a moment to share my favourite blogs at the moment. Check them out!

  • The Pub Diaries – Max was the author of the fantastic piece about food blogger’s in last Thursday’s West Australian (featuring meeeee). But I love his blog, full of little bit about Perth, pubs and beer related goodness.
  • Snackhole – My gorgeous friend Josie writes about my favourite food in the universe – junk food. The really bad for you kind. This sparks all manner of crazy cravings, and I LOVE it.
  • Lacey Street – Amy and Eliza have put together the most beautiful lifestyle blog, full of gorgeous pictures and general loveliness.

Language warning

In the tradition of Triple J: There is bad language comin’. It’s kind of necessary for the enthusiasm I have about this.

Oh my fucking god. Have you ever eaten something that sends your world spinning off its axis?

This. Here. Today. Now.

I know, I know. I get a little excited by things. I wax lyrical about how good things are. And I know that this is going to be a little bit of a leap of faith, because shit gets weird. I need you to stay with me here, because the results are well and truly worth it.

We put salt in caramel and chocolate. Pepper with strawberries. Fruit in savoury salads. We live dangerously with our flavours, and it’s all good.

So, imagine salty vinegaryness in a baked good. I know. Crazy, right? I’m talking leftover chips. In a cookie.

This recipe comes from Christina Tosi. Remember her? She’s the genius behind the Sprinkle Birthday cake I made back in September. This cookie here is one of her signature moves, and for good reason. It’s fucking awesome.

The best part is, no one will believe you that there are chips in there and no one will know if you don’t tell them. Unless they get a big chunk of the stuff, like one of the guys in my office did. He choked a little, and I did a really bad job of stifling giggles. But he’s ok, folks. Nothing to see here. I’ve made 3 batches of these for various groups of friends lately, and while they all thought I had finally fallen off the edge of sanity, they all lost their shit once they tried them.

I didn’t say I told them so. Actually… Wait. I did. BOOYA.

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I have changed the recipe a little bit, simply to make use of what I had at home. You should do the same! Add crushed biscuits, or leftover chocolates. I do not suggest that you use twisties instead of the S&V chips though. While we are baking dangerously, lets not get stupid here. If you want to see the original recipe, it’s here.

 

Compost Cookies

Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

250g butter, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
150g light brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
225g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup chocolate chips (I used mini M&Ms)
½ cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cups porridge oats
2½ teaspoons ground or instant coffee
2 cups potato chips (I used salt & vinegar)
1 cup mini pretzels

1. Beat the sugars and butter together in a bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for another couple of minutes.

2. Add the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt, and mix until only just combined.

3. Gently fold the choc chips, M&Ms, oats and coffee into the mixture. Then, add the chips and pretzels, still folding gently so not to crush them too much.You kind of want big chunks of chip goodness!

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4. Tip: An ice cream scoop is the perfect size for these bad boys. Scoop the dough into balls, and put onto a tray lined with baking paper. Put in the fridge for at least an hour. *WARNING* Do not bake at room temperature!

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5. Heat oven to 190*c. The cookies spread more than you think – I was baking 6 on a tray at a tine so they wouldn’t crowd – give them a lot of space. Bake for 18 minutes, or until browned on the edge only. They will keep cooking once you take them out of the oven, and you don’t want them to be crispy.

This is what happens if you don't space them out

This is what happens if you don’t space them out

6. Cool on a wire rack before keeping in an airtight container. For the record, they keep for 5 days – but I’ve never known them to last that long.

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Note: You know those times where you read a step and think, ‘I don’t need that’? Overnight marinating, or resting a cut of meat? We all do it. There’s no judgement here. But today, you do not know better than the recipe. Refrigerate the damn cookies. If they don’t work, and you didn’t do this step, it’s your owwwwwn fault. You don’t want that, because these are worth every single second.

P.S. What have you got on this weekend? There are so many incredible things going on! Fringe World, Perth Festival, Chinese New Year! Everything is exciting!

Baking and other addictions

There are other things I enjoy outside of cooking, I promise.

Live music, for one. Drinking an unholy amount of coffee. Paddle boarding. I’m the owner of a weird amount of dinosaur related items. I’m developing a similar collection of anchor themed things. I like homeware shops, full of things that I probably don’t need, but want all the same. Stationary. Military history. Book stores, with their delicate smell of dusty paper. Generally getting out and loving all the awesome things Perth has to offer, especially in the summer months.

Last weekend, I felt an urge to bake.
This was thoroughly stupid, because it was something like 36* outside, and I was cranking up the oven. I may have had to make mercy dashes upstairs to stand under the air-conditioning, then run back downstairs to carry on.
Equally as stupid, as this recipe yielded around 36 biscuits.  Having no housemates at the moment, what the hell am I going to do with that many biscuits?

*lightbulb moment*

Located on Oxford St, are the amazing team at Studio Bomba.
They sell delightful bits and bobs, design and press their own paperwares and provide workshop space for their resident creatives. Oh, and they’re all lovely. They are also the design team behind the upcoming Fringe World festival, which you need to check out. I can’t go in there without coming out again, giddily clutching something that I’ve justified as a need, not a want.
The Bomba team very graciously accepted my biscuit donation, and I left with a very pretty pair of anchor earrings. A win for all concerned!

These cookies are begging for a cup of tea, delicately spiced and sweet, without being overpowering.  If you aren’t a fan of chai tea (shame on you!), don’t worry, I tested them on several non-chai peeps, and they still really enjoyed them.

Plus, I can’t tell you how good they smelled while baking. Heaven.

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

Adapted from My Baking Addiction

2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking paper; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture, set aside to reserve for rolling the cookies.

3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, combine until fully incorporated. Slowly blend in dry ingredients mixing until just combined.

4. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) roll dough into balls and then into the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Gettin’ baked.

There’s no easy way to put this, so I’m just going to come out and say it.

I hate Christmas. It’s all a major hassle that I can’t say I see the point of.

But.
What I do love, is Christmas food. What’s not to love? Roast meats, cold seafood, crisp stone fruits, candy canes, chocolate… Sorry, I’ve just drooled all over my keyboard.

When I heard about a charity event involving The Smith Family, I had to get on board.
A party for disadvantaged kids, featuring caroling by some of Perth’s hottest local music acts, presents donated by local businesses. Oh, and cookies by me. To all, a good night.

So, for the kids, I made these.
One batch of sugary chocolatey madness, a batch of christmas scented, buttery goodness. The shortbread smells like heaven while baking, and the cookies have the best tasting batter I’ve ever had. Resisting the urge to eat the lot with a spoon takes some serious willpower.
Good luck with that.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

Adapted from Bakers Royale

Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cup sliced Snickers, (roughly one bag of mini size Snickers)
1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

Heat oven to 190 degrees C. Line bake sheet with parchment paper.

Place flour and baking soda together in a bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Place 10 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking and using the handle of pan to swirl the butter around in the skillet. Swirl butter constantly until it becomes a dark golden brown in color and gives off a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into hot butter until completely melted.

(Before and after)

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to brown butter mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Add eggs and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Rest mixture for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Spoon out approximately two heaping tablespoons of dough and flatten it into a round disc. Place a Snickers slice on top. Fold edges over Snickers to seal it in. Place cookies 2 inches apart on baking paper lined trays.

Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool cookies.

I also made:

Brown Sugar Shortbread
Adapted from BHG

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (see note)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups plain flour

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Gradually beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. (I used a cookie cutter).
Sprinkle with a little sugar, if you like.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Note: You can buy apple pie spice, or you can make your own really easily with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cardamom (makes a teaspoon worth of spice mix).

The boys from Tame Impala ate my cookies, and liked them. May have squealed like a little girl. And the kids, well, they loved them too. Career highlight? I think so!