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.
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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!

Sun, sand, stings and sweets.

Australia Day for me this year was a low-key affair.
Due to the stifling week of 40*c heat; it was quite frankly too bloody hot to do just about anything.

So my friends and I packed up our stuff, and hit the beach early for a swim in the Indian Ocean.

Hitting the piping hot sand at about 9:30 in the morning, the beach was just starting to hum with activity. Families, shrieking kids, wafting bbq smells, Triple J’s Hottest 100 blasting from a dozen stereos… Just another Australia Day. Perfect.
The water was sweet relief from the already biting sun. Until we realised that the high waves were hiding many, many jellyfish.

My first jellyfish sting and the accompanying rash. Many jokes were made about the best way to treat it. If you don’t know, I don’t suggest you Google it. Shizz gets weird.

We packed a small picnic, and after coming to the conclusion that messy, sticky Pavlova and sand just doesn’t go well together, settled on crowd pleasing cookies. Because much like parfait, who doesn’t love cookies?
Triple chocolate chip never fails to win people over. The amounts are just a guideline, mix them about as you please. Like more white than dark? Ok. Want MOAR chocolately goodness? Throw in more chips.

It’s all good.

Unless you’re me, and burn yourself on the oven.

That was a particularly accident prone 24 hours for me. Owwies.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Slow Like Honey

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¾ cup  granulated white sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups plain flour
¾ tsp baking soda/bicarb soda
⅛ tsp salt
200g dark chocolate, coarsely shopped
50g milk chocolate chips
100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated.

Stir the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture until combined, then mix in all the chopped chocolate until just combined.

Divide the dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, for at least 2 hours, max of 24 hours.

Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180*C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Slice the logs into disks about 1.5cm thick and place the disks a couple of centimeters apart on the baking sheets. Bake the cookies until lightly browned in the center, about ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool. Once firm enough to handle, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

I’d normally include a photo of the finished product. Because you should know how they turn out, right?
Um… They didn’t last that long.
But imagine a beautifully browned delight of cookie and chocolate heaven. That’s totally what they looked like. *nod*

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.