After one year in the USA I did notice and took it into my own hands of solving my cravings. The rest of my year I made a habit of weekly baking with the children. A great activity they love and also an activity I would bribe them with to behave when being to rowdy.
I brought some of my favorite recipes home and try to do them as often as I can when missing my au pair time.
Here is one great recipe I did this weekend!
- 200 grams hazelnuts
- 150 grams unsalted butter
- 75 grams caster sugar
- 75 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 150 grams dark chocolate chips roughly chopped
Here's how you do it!
- Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Let them cool a little.
- Take half of the toasted hazelnuts, skins and all, and whizz them to a fine crumb in a food processor.
- Remove the skins from the remaining hazelnuts by rubbing a handful at a time into your palms. The skins will simply slip off and can be discarded.
- Put the skinned hazelnuts into a food bag and give them a quick bash to break them up into big chunks (or chop them roughly if you prefer; personally I find the bashing cathartic).
- Cream the butter and sugars together until soft and coffee-coloured.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla essence.
- Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground hazelnuts and combine to form a lovely soft dough.
- Mix in the smashed hazelnut pieces and chocolate chunks.
- Tip the dough onto a wide, long sheet of clingfilm and form it into a log shape, wrapping as you go. Once the log is completely wrapped, pop it in the freezer.
- When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Take the log out of the freezer and set it on a chopping board for 5 minutes – just enough time to make it possible for a knife to be pushed through it but not so long that the whole log defrosts unless you are making the full batch at once.
- Carefully, because the dough will be very stiff, and with a thick, sharp knife, cut 1cm slices from the log and lay them on a non-stick or lined baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between the cookies as they will spread in the oven.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are just –and no more – starting to darken and the centre still looks soft. Leave the cookies on the hot tray for another 5 minutes and then slide a palette knife under them and move them onto a cooling rack.
- And give yourself a pat on the back for every cookie that you don’t eat directly off the baking sheet.
Hope you have a wonderful start of the week!